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Mitchell: Tax man taking tough stance on club
Published : 18 Mar 2010 07:00:00Rss feed
CHAIRMAN Eddie Mitchell is confident Cherries will avert the threat of closure even though he claims the tax man is giving the club no room to manoeuvre. Cherries were last month served with a winding-up petition by HM Revenue & Customs for arrears of £314,000 with the case due to be heard on March 31. And with details of the High Court action due to be published in today's London Gazette, the club's bank account will automatically be frozen as a result. Although Mitchell tried to reach a compromise with the taxman earlier this week, his attempts were in vain, leaving the club's destiny in the hands of the judge. Speaking to the Daily Echo last night, Mitchell said: I tried to convince them to put it back and gave them proposals to bring the tax considerably below the figure they are petitioning for, but they weren't having any of it. Our accountants are trying to negotiate a payment plan and we should know about that tomorrow. They are taking a tough line. We produced figures to show how the debt has reduced since we have been here and how sensible it would be to give us time to clear the rest, but the tax man is familiar with the club's circumstances of old and feels it is not good to give us time. I sympathised with them when we first took over because there was a considerable sum owing and it was just ignored. But if they looked at the effort we have made, they would see we have been addressing it. I am annoyed. Mitchell said the club had recently sent the tax man more than £100,000 and had a similar sum earmarked to go out of their bank account on Friday. It is unclear, however, whether the funds would reduce the petition figure or service monthly payments. If the publication of the petition appears tomorrow, we can't send them the money because our bank account will be frozen, said Mitchell. The revenue is starting to come in, we have got lots of other initiatives in the pipelines and could soon have them out of our hair. It's crazy because if the bank account is frozen then we have to go to a judge to ask him to release the funds to the tax man. That costs the best part of £10,000 and that money would be better going towards the arrears. It is so short sighted. I just can't see the sense in it and it is cutting off your nose to spite your face. The long and short of it though is that we will be okay and I don't anticipate any problems. I'm sure the judge will give us the extra time we need, I just wish the tax man would. We are not asking for years or months, only weeks.