Rank Group Receives VAT Repayment
By Staff
The firm behind online bingo site MeccaBingo.com and virtual sportsbook BlueSq.com has received a $92.07 million refund on taxes it paid from January of 2003 to June of this year.

Maidenhead-based Rank Group announced that it received the refund from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in the UK and anticipated that the net cash benefits would be partially offset by gross profits tax and other related costs.

The repayment relates to a ruling in May that was appealed by the Government concerning the application of value-added tax (VAT) on games of interval bingo at its Mecca Bingo clubs. Rank contended that the Government’s practices contravened European Union principles on fiscal neutrality, which requires supplies that are the same or similar should be not be treated differently for VAT purposes.

Rank stated that the Government’s appeal of the decision of the VAT and Duties Tribunal is due to be heard by the High Court in the first half of next year and, if successful, it could be forced to return the payment with interest.

“As a consequence of the Tribunal's ruling, Mecca Bingo has not paid VAT on any games of interval bingo since July of 2008,” read a statement issued by Rank.

“At present, it is not Rank's intention to recognise the revenue or operating profit benefits of the repayment (or of the decision to stop paying VAT on interval bingo) in the group financial results for 2008. The repayment will be used to reduce the group's net debt and will have no impact on the size of Rank's existing banking facilities which will remain committed until 2012.”

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