Hearts facing tax deadline over £100k bill

Vladimir Romanov: Business collapse. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Vladimir Romanov: Business collapse. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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HEARTS will today bid to avoid being served with potentially yet another winding-up order by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs over a £100,000 bill.

The PAYE debt had been due last Monday but the club was given until the close of business today to settle its arrears.

It is not clear whether the Tynecastle outfit have made any inroads in clearing that charge, but club insiders were hoping an upturn in season-ticket sales would help boost the coffers at a time when there is no matchday income.

HMRC could return to the court to initiate another winding-up order should the debt not be cleared.

Hearts have had countless run-ins with the tax authority during owner Vladimir Romanov’s reign. Only last November, the club warned supporters the 139-year-old institution was in danger of collapsing under the weight of a £450,000 bill following the launch of a winding-up order by HMRC.

Frenzied money-spinning efforts and a share issue that raised £1.05 million of a targeted £1.8m saw the club stave off that problem.

The club also agreed a £1.5m repayment plan over a separate dispute with HMRC late last year. Hearts insist they have been running as a self-sustainable business since early 2012 following years of relying on hand-outs from 
Romanov.

But slow season ticket sales, which are thought to be down a third on last summer’s tally, suggest the club remains in a fragile financial position.

The collapse of Romanov’s business empire in Lithuania is also a deep concern for Hearts. They owe £15m to his fallen bank, Ukio Bankas, which is challenging a bankruptcy ruling, and £10m to parent company UBIG, which asked to be considered as insolvent last month.