Trust Statement - Rent

#1

I’ve been asked to share the following statement on behalf of the Walsall Football Supporters Trust:

Walsall Supporters Trust has access to expert Pensions Advice that particularly applies to SIPPs and SSAS.

As most supporters know the freehold of Bescot/Banks Stadium is owned by the SIPPs of Jeffrey Bonser and Robert Bonser and is leased to the football club. A rent of £440000 per annum is often quoted, that is the amount shown in the latest Accounts.

However, we believe that a small amount of this is the cost of rent for the Training Ground which not owned by the Pension Scheme.

Over recent years there have been comments from supporters with regard to the rent and calls for a “rent holiday”. This was covered by a working party meeting with in the last year. Changes in Inland Revenue rules in 2006 now allow a Pension Scheme to do anything whilst before that date there were specific rules that could not be broken.

However, the Rules were replaced by extreme financial penalties which would practically impose a very high price for rent not being collected. The non-collection or “rent holiday” would be treated as an unauthorised payment by the Revenue with a fine of 55% of the amount involved. A fine of £220000 plus non-collection of say £400000 is a lot of money. It also may not end there as if HMRC felt that more action was required that can remove the tax approval of the pension scheme which would require the repayment of all the tax allowances received during the lifetime of the pension scheme. It would in fact decimate the scheme.

Nevertheless, there is an action which we believe could be taken to reduce the rent if Jeffrey and Robert Bonser wished. The Saddlers Club has been unoccupied for a year and we understand that the rent to the Football Club of £37000 per annum had not been paid by the Supporters Club because of their financial difficulties. We believe that the Football Club do not expect to receive rent for some years and that, in any case, the building requires considerable money to spent in repairs and decoration to bring it up to a condition to allow it to be re-let.

We believe that Inland Revenue Pension Rules would allow this building, the former home of the Saddlers Club, to be taken back into the SIPPs and the Lease between the Football Club altered with the rent being reduced accordingly.

Pension rules are very complicated and we feel that it is almost certain that Jeff and Robert Bonser are unaware of the above. It would in fact be only a minor adjustment to the Rent but nevertheless it would be something.

We will inform the Directors of the Club so that this matter can be considered.

Trevor Reece (acting Chair)

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#2

All I’m reading there is that it would cost Jeff 220K not to charge the rent. They say it’s a lot of money, but considering this bloke wasted 300K of the clubs money signing Andreas Makris it doesn’t seem it.

Surely a reduction, rather than a total rent holiday wouldn’t incur such penalties?

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#3

Alternatively, as suggested by @geordiesaddler Bonser is of pensionable age and there is nothing to stop him drawing down on his fund and giving it back, is there?

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#4

Just more indication as to the incredibly profitable and loophole free arrangement that Bonser has created for himself.

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#5

Which side are the trust on?

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#6

He will have been doing so for years. He (they) can take 25% tax free either as a lump sum or as income. I cannot imagine this hasn’t been done, particularly given their ages.

All other income is taxed at marginal rate.

He could take a million out a year and put it into the club, provided he paid tax on it, if he chose to.

The lifetime allowance, which attracts the 55% tax if exceeded, came into affect in 2006 and has been reducing over time. The Bonsers were invested prior to this date so are unlikely to be affected by it. When it has been reduced eg from £1.8 - £1.5m protections were available for individuals that had already exceeded the new limit.

HMRC clearly see Bonser the landlord giving Bonser the club owner a rent holiday as a gift in kind, hence the tax charge (it isn’t a fine).

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#7

Indeed. These statements read as if they’ve been agreed with the club before being released. :rofl:

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#8

I think I’m right in saying that they did have a private meeting with Gamble at the club in the last couple of days. :confused:

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#9

What is the minimum rent HMRC will accept as fair market rate and incur a tax charge?
If the pension was the only way to purchase the land and the rent payments were only necessary to stop HMRC from charging a punitive tax charge and it was the best that could be done for the club as has been implied all these years then that would be the question I would be asking HMRC.
Market raye is a very ambiguous term; the rent was reduced a few years ago but went back up very quickly. I suspect 400k is the return that Bonser has decided he wants. I’m disappointed in that but absolutely fuming at the half truths, misdirection and attempt to cover up.

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#10

I don’t think it works like that Ripley.

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#11

can someone tell me in simple terms exactly why rent MUST be paid ?

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#12

Perhaps someone can help me with a few queries. What exactly do we get for our rent?
Obviously we get stadium and car parks.
So are we also getting the Saddlers Club and/we’re sub letting it?
Do we pay for 365 days per year so anything that goes on at WFC benefits WFC?
For example, when the market is on are the traders paying Walsall FC or Suffolk Life(SL)?
If its SL then, technically for 52 days of the year WFC are unable to use the stadium in which they’re paying for.
In which case I’m presuming the market is making the club considerably more than the £62k it is costing the club to rent that space every Sunday.

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#13

Don’t get the point of this statement.

JWB could reduce the rent by 100% if he wanted, so why is the Trust wasting time highlighting technicalities that mean he could reduce it by 10%.

You might as well get hung for a sheep as a lamb

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#14

Exactly why bring up technicalities. If he wanted to make the club a success on the playing side as well as the business side he could very easily by reaching for his pocket

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#15

What is the point of the trust ?
To me they have always appeared to take the chairman, leech, landlord, owner’s (delete as appropriate) side

We are so lucky to have a saviour and number 1 fan, unfortunately he does not compare to the one up the road at Wolves who got a knighthood as Geordie pointed out - spent £40 million of his own money and sold the club for £1

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#16

It’s not a successful business, but that’s a different conversation. It’s a pension fund vehicle, that’s it.

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#17

Ironic that we need someone to save us from our saviour

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#18

All I know is the blokes made a lot of money out of our club. And now more than ever it’s about time he put some money back in.

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#19
  1. So if the board aren’t happy with their first statement, this is to sweeten them up in the hope they can still eventually get a place on the board.

  2. It’s to try and silence WSFC as the Trust are against any protest or movement.

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#20

The original post in this thread reads like it was written by Bonser. If it was not then the Walsall Supporters Trust are putting up a good imitation of him.

The idea that Bonser would be hit by a fine if he cut the rent is preposterous dribble.

In real life we see countless examples of businesses that are struggling seeking to renegotiate their rents with their landlords. More often than not landlords know that they have to give a reduction or a rent holiday or they will be faced with an empty building and no new takers. Can the Walsall Supporters Trust give me one example of a landlord who has given a rent reduction to his tenant being fined by the Inland Revenue? Or are they just repeating Bonser’s nonsense propaganda?

If WFC went into administration and as a result had to end the lease and the new owners after administration decided to leave Bescot how much would another business be prepared to pay for use of the ground? There is unlikely to be another football club interested, but perhaps Bescot could attract a rugby club, just as Wasps went to Ricoh Arena; it is I suppose an outside possibility. The conference facilities have value, but it is unlikely to come to £1000 a day.

Football grounds are not easily valued. It is one thing to value a business building that is used for retail, manufacture, warehousing etc, since there are hundreds of these sorts of properties on the market every day. What basis would the Inland Revenue have for saying that £100,000 a year was too low a rent for Bescot, if it was all that WFC could afford?

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