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Hearts win first battle but the war with HMRC goes on

Hearts have escaped the threat of immediate closure by paying the final instalment of the £450,000 tax bill that prompted Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to seek a winding-up petition last month.

The receipt of part of the transfer fee for David Templeton eased the burden
The receipt of part of the transfer fee for David Templeton eased the burden

The tax man had agreed to let the club pay the amount over two payments, and the club confirmed that the balance was met before yesterday's deadline.

So far, a share issue has generated £700,000 from a target of £1.75m as the club attempt to raise funds. Hearts also face another potential tax bill of £1.75m, but their appeal is due to be heard by the First Tier Tribunal. The threat of closure has been lifted, though, through a combination of players and staff deferring last month's wages and Rangers paying an instalment of the transfer fee due for David Templeton.

A fans fighting fund has also been set up by former players as the supporters try to raise the money required to stabilise the club and secure its short-term future.

The £1.75m tax bill relates to the deals to take players on loan from the Lithuanian club FBK Kaunas, and Hearts declared that they would "robustly defend those claims" at the tribunal, which was due to start on November 19. But HMRC officials have indicated that it will be 2013 before any decision is made.

Hearts Youth Development Committee also yesterday thanked the fans and the club for their funding-raising efforts, which has led to HYDC being given shares in the Tynecastle outfit. Coaches and backroom staff donated shares to HYDC, while fans have raised in excess of £50,000.

"HYDC are very aware and grateful that fans, groups and Hearts FC have been raising monies to purchase shares and then donating them to HYDC to look after on their behalf," read a statement. "Until the share issue closes on 19 December we are unable to thank all the people who entrusted us with the responsibility of looking after these shares. Suffice to say that this is a responsibility that we will take very seriously and will always act in a way that is best for the future of Heart of Midlothian Football Club.

"The response from the fans has been tremendous but HYDC would ask supporters to keep supporting the club in any way they can whether it be by attending matches, buying Hearts merchandise or supporting the share issue."

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