AFC Telford United have lost a court battle over late VAT payments.

The non-league club complained that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) had unfairly imposed surcharges of about £2,500 after VAT bills totalling £40,000 were paid late.

Club officials said they had given warning that payments would be late and should therefore not be penalised.

But a specialist judge has ruled against the National League North team after a tribunal hearing in Birmingham.

In November the Lilywhites – currently in the bottom half of the table – announced that after consultation with supporters, they were selling shares and changing their ownership model to allow external investment.

No one person or organisation could buy more than 20% of the shares during the three-week sale.

The club, formerly called Telford United, has been a major force in non-league football reaching more FA Trophy finals than any other team. They won on three of their five visits to Wembley and also reached the FA Cup fifth round in 1985.

But they were forced into liquidation in 2004 and reformed as AFC Telford United, starting their new life in Northern Premier League Division One.

Telford released a statement on Saturday evening clarifying their position.

“As has previously been documented AFC Telford United were subject to an erroneous winding up order brought by HMRC, this was dismissed by the court. The winding up order was brought by HMRC in 2015 as the football club was late in paying part of a VAT liability to HMRC, the football club had paid part of the VAT liability on time.

“As some of the liability was paid a few days late HMRC issued penalty notices for late payment. The football club appealed against those penalties and eventually this appeal was heard by HMRC Court & Tribunal service. Although the Court & Tribunal service expressed sympathy to the football club it advised that it was tied by the legislation that stated if VAT was paid late and outside a “time to pay scheme” then the penalties could not be cancelled.

“The amount of the penalties total £2,570. The only amount owing by the football club to HMRC are these penalties of £2,570. The football club will take advice from its advisors who have stated that there is a case to appeal the Court & Tribunal decision”


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