Notts County considering legal action against HM Revenue & Customs after winding-up petition is dismissed
NOTTS County had a winding-up petition against them dismissed in the High Court yesterday – in less than 20 seconds.
And they are now considering pursuing damages from HM Revenue & Customs.
The Magpies were issued with the petition because they did not pay a tax bill due on December 19 on time because of a cash-flow problem at Meadow Lane.
Notts informed HMRC before that date they would be late paying the monies.
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They promised to pay up in January – and did so – but they still had to go to court even though they don't now owe HMRC a penny.
Chief executive Jim Rodwell went to London with a lawyer, but the Magpies did not have to defend the petition in the end because lawyers for HMRC applied for it to be dismissed and the hearing lasted less than 20 seconds.
Notts issued a statement afterwards.
"Notts County can confirm that the winding up petition brought against the club by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs has been dismissed," it read.
"The petition was dismissed in a matter of seconds at a hearing in London on Monday morning."
The club are still deeply unhappy with HMRC, however, and could take action against them to recover their legal costs and punitive damages 'for the harm suffered by the Football Club'.
On Sunday night, just hours before the hearing, Notts released a strongly-worded statement in which they called the action 'both disruptive and damaging'.
In full, it read: "On Friday evening it was brought to the attention of the Notts County Chairman, Ray Trew, that the Football Club is due to appear in the High Court on Monday 11 February to defend a winding up petition.
"This action came without any prior notification to the Chairman and his fellow Directors.
"After investigation, it was found that this petition was being brought by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for PAYE payable on Wednesday 19th December 2012.
"The club can state, unequivocally, that the business is completely up to date with all VAT and PAYE monies and that this action is regarded by the Board as both disruptive and damaging.
"Unfortunately, we had no option other than to instruct legal counsel to represent us, but we fully expect this issue to be resolved in our favour once the judge has before him all the facts.
"Once this has happened, the Board will be seeking legal advice regarding taking action against HMRC and the officer personally responsible for this and will seek to recover all costs associated with defending the action plus punitive damages for the harm suffered by the Football Club."
The dismissal of the case is a victory for Notts, but will inevitably raise questions.
It all comes in the wake of chairman Ray Trew telling fans only last month that falling attendances at Meadow Lane this season were 'severely impacting on the club's cash flow'.
However, he then wrote in his matchday programme notes on January 19 ahead of the game with Sheffield United that 'Notts County are not in the midst of a financial crisis' in an attempt to reassure supporters.