London-listed operator Sportech has made progress in its long-running dispute with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), securing permission to appeal a decision ordering it to hand back a £93m VAT repayment from the UK government.

Permission was granted by the Court of Appeal after the Upper Tribunal of the Tax and Chancery Chamber refused to hear Sportech’s case, which relates to a Spot the Ball competition run between 1979 and 1996. The hearing is expected to take place later this year.

The long-running case dates back to 2009, when Sportech filed its original claim for £40m in overpaid VAT on the game, though the sum increased to £93m as a result of interest owed on the original amount.

The first claim was rejected by HMRC in December 2010, prompting Sportech to launch an appeal with the First Tier Tax Tribunal. The claim was successful, resulting in the company being awarded £93m in June last year.

However HMRC’s second appeal, lodged with the Upper Tribunal, succeeded in September 2014, with the operator now required to return the money subject to appeal.

Shares in Sportech plc (Co.Data) (LSE:SPO) rose sharply on the news before dropping back to its current price of 62.88 pence per share in London this morning.

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