Hearts face the prospect of unlimited sanctions from the Scottish Premier League after failing to pay their players on time for a fourth successive month.
January's wages were due yesterday, with Hearts setting a midnight deadline for delivery of salaries.
However, the SPL have announced Hearts have missed the deadline and the SPL board will meet this evening to determine how to proceed.
A statement from the SPL read: "On January 4, 2012, a sub-committee of the SPL board made various orders relating to late payment of wages due to 14 Heart of Midlothian players.
"One of those orders was that Heart of Midlothian should make full payment of January salaries due to the 14 players by the due date of January 16, 2012.
"The Scottish Premier League has now received confirmation from Heart of Midlothian that the club has failed to comply with this order.
"A meeting of the SPL board of directors has been called for this evening.
"At that meeting, the SPL board will consider the situation and decide upon the appropriate course of action."
The SPL board of directors is presently comprised of SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster, SPL chairman Ralph Topping, plus Stephen Thompson of Dundee United, Eric Riley of Celtic, Derek Weir of Motherwell and Steve Brown of St Johnstone.
It is understood Hearts were yesterday afternoon attempting to process payment of salaries from Lithuanian bank UBIG, controlled by Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov.
By missing the deadline, Hearts face the prospect of dramatic consequences for failing to meet orders imposed by the SPL.
Sanctions could be imposed, including the prospect of a large fine, docked points or a transfer embargo - all of which would have untold consequences on the future of the 138-year-old club.
The present situation is a consequence of delayed wages in October and November.
A further delay in December prompted 14 members of Hearts' first-team squad to submit a complaint to the SPL via players' union PFA Scotland.
Their December pay, which had been due on December 16, was received on January 4, the day the SPL sub-committee adjudicated over the dispute between the players and Hearts, ordering the club to comply to a number of demands - including timely delivery of January's salaries.
But now Hearts' players have again received their payment late; the last time it was delivered on time was in September.
The club were not immediately available for comment.