HMRC are increasingly using other tools to recover tax payments. Over the last few years HMRC have substantially increased the number of seized assets from almost 3,000 businesses as government increases the pressure on late tax payments.
The number of firms facing asset seizures jumped 45 per cent from 2016/17 and there is no sign that this trend will decrease.
Using powers referred to as ‘Distraint’ powers, HMRC can take assets from businesses that do not have the cash to pay their tax bill to sell to raise funds. This can include taking critical items that a business will rely upon such as IT equipment and machinery, the removal of which can result in a firm being forced to cease trading.
The increasingly aggressive debt collection policy comes at a time when businesses are already facing other major potential risks including rising interest rates and increased barriers to trade after Brexit.
This approach can stop a business trading and Altion Law has assisted companies where there are often genuine reasons why these firms aren’t able to pay their tax bills on time, such as cashflow issues stemming from late payments from clients.
Even if HMRC have seized the assets they are often sold at “fire-sale prices”, which means that HMRC is often unable to recoup the amount owed, meanings an otherwise healthy company that runs into difficulty, is not only left without critical assets but it still has to deal with HMRC and late tax payments.
Altion Law has worked with companies where HMRC have aggressively pursued overdue tax liabilities to agree payment plans and contest HMRC Winding up Petitions.
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