Taxpayers will bear the cost of the multi million-pound bill for the collapse of Sir Philip Green’s clothing empire as liquidators return what is left of the fallen tycoon’s business.
Accountants from Mazars have been appointed to wind up Arcadia’s 21 group companies, including once popular high street chains Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins.
HM Revenue & Customs was owed £44m when Sir Philip called in administrators from Deloitte at the end of last year.
Deloitte’s appointment came hours before a change in the law that would have bumped claims from the taxman ahead of other unsecured creditors.
And with just £30m to allocate among unsecured creditors, the taxman is facing a big hit.
Deloitte's restructuring business, now called Teneo, warned unsecured creditors last week that they would recoup just 10p in every pound that they were owed by the Arcadia group of companies.
Lady Tina Green, Sir Philip’s wife, recently received £50m by virtue of being a secured creditor, placing her ahead of the likes of suppliers, utilities companies and the taxman. Mazars said HMRC is the largest unsecured creditor.
First revealed by The Telegraph, Deloitte struck a deal to sell Topshop and Topman, Sir Philip’s most valuable brands, to online retailer Asos. Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton were subsequently sold to Asos’s rival Boohoo.
Adam Harris, Mazars joint liquidator, said: “The liquidation of the Arcadia companies is a large and complex undertaking, and our team will draw on its collective experience to maximise returns for creditors, including HMRC.
“Over the coming months our aim is to repay as much as possible of the group’s outstanding unpaid VAT liability.”