Rank puts cost on tax rises

Leisure group Rank yesterday became the first major public company to put a total on how much extra the emergency Budget would cost it. The Mecca bingo and Grosvenor casinos operator said the rise in the standard rate of VAT and changes to the National Insurance regime would result in a net cost increase of about £2.5m from 2011. Rank said it would try to minimise the impact of the rise. Last month, the company received £42.5m in overpaid VAT back from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, although HMRC is still appealing the case. The repayment relates to £16.1m overpaid on games of bingo between 2004 and 2009 and £26.4m to amusement machine revenues between 2002 and 2005. If the HMRC appeal is successful Rank will be forced to return the payment plus interest.