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HMRC Winding-up Petitions: Notts County F.C. lose ‘Wonderkid’

December 19 2016

Liverpool F.C have reportedly agreed a deal to sign Notts County’s 15-year-old ‘wonderkid’ for £150,000 as a result of County’s financial crisis. The club has been served a winding-up petition by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) following an unpaid tax bill allegedly amounting to £500,000 or more. 

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Notts County FC lose player following HMRC winding-up petition

Notts County Financial Crisis

Jack Bearne made his under-18 debut for County at the age of 14 and has been referred to as the club’s most promising youngster.

Notts County FC have reportedly managed to get winding-up petitions dismissed by HMRC in 2010, 2013 and earlier this year by paying their outstanding tax bills.

The owner of County, Ray Trew, believes that HMRC is treating clubs unfairly and states that:

“Our petition will be settled ahead of the hearing and that’s all there is to it,” he said. “Firstly I want to know why this is even worthy of column inches when this is not news at all. Hartlepool and Bury have recently been in the High Court and this didn’t warrant a story, so why is Notts County a story? The only story you need to write about is why there are so many football clubs being issued with winding-up petitions by HMRC.”

“If you search the London Gazette and indeed the court listings you will see the likes of Morecambe, Southend and Bolton have all in the last week or so been issued with petitions. The fact is HMRC do not treat football clubs like they do other businesses and you will need to speak to them or the Treasury as to the reasons why, but my feeling is we are low-hanging fruit.”

“Outside of football I own an accountancy practice and I have clients who not only owe vast sums – ten times what we owe – and are six months in arrears of PAYE but also maybe two quarters behind in their VAT, yet they don’t get issued with such petitions or indeed treated as we do in football.”

HMRC have guidance about how they treat taxpayers and must treat all taxpayers equally. If any of the clubs have complaints that they are being treated unfairly they can raise a tax disputes complaint with HMRC pointing out the deviations from HMRC policy, if any.

Winding-up Petition Solicitors

If you have received a winding up petition our legal experts are able to provide legal advice and representation. Our team of solicitors and barristers can obtain a court adjournment; CVA’s or successfully challenge the validity of the winding up petition to ensure that the petition is dismissed, often without public advertisement.

We have represented football and other sporting clubs in disputes with HMRC and as specialists in dealing with HMRC Debt Recovery procedures including petitions can obtain an optimal outcome.


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The articles published on this website, current at the date of posting, are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.

Call us on ☎ 02071830529 or email us on for more information about the specialist insolvency legal services we provide. Our team of London lawyers are based in Middle Temple adjacent to the Companies Court. We are committed to providing professional and specialist legal advice and are leading experts in cases involving winding-up petitions.