HEARTS players paid tax in both Lithuania and the UK whilst on loan from FBK Kaunas, details of which will form part of the club’s defence against a government tax claim of £1.75 million.
Many players loaned from Kaunas were paid 50 per cent of their wages by the Lithuanian side and 50 per cent by Hearts. Tax was deducted from both amounts each month.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs believe there to be an outstanding amount of £1.75m in unpaid tax, which may relate to other benefits given to any of the 19 players loaned from Kaunas to Hearts between 2005 and 2010. Both clubs were financed by Vladimir Romanov’s Ukio Bankas Investment Group at the time.
Players receiving part of their wages from a parent club whilst on loan is both common and legal in football, provided tax is paid on all monies. Senior officials at Tynecastle are adamant there is no wrongdoing on their part and are confident of being cleared when the case is heard at a tax tribunal next month.
Adrian Mrowiec, the Polish midfielder loaned to Hearts from Kaunas during season 2008/09, today explained to the Evening News how salaries were processed for loanees. “When I was with Kaunas, I paid tax in Lithuania. When I was in the UK, I paid tax in the UK,” he said. “I never had any problems with it. When I played at Kaunas or Hearts there were never any problems like this. They paid me half my wages in Scotland and half in Lithuania and there were no issues.
“Every time I was supposed to get paid, I got the money. Now it is a little bit of a different situation. I saw on the internet that Hearts had problems with the tax. I didn’t know anything about this.”
Mrowiec now plays with German Third Division club Chemnitzer but admitted his thoughts are with old friends in Edinburgh. “I hope the players just think about the games but if you don’t get money or the club has problems because they don’t have money, maybe some players will think about this. When I am a player I try only to think about the next game.”
Hearts have launched a share issue inviting supporters to purchase up to ten per cent of the club. Their aim is to raise funds to help fund their youth development programme and assist with running costs incurred on a month-to-month basis. However, the club have stressed none of the fans’ money will be used to pay off any tax bill.