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HMRC Time to Pay Arrangements

Often when a company is facing financial pressure, it may have significant arrears to HMRC.  Most companies are required to prioritise payments to generally suppliers when experiencing cash flow problems, in order to ensure the company can continue to trade.  In these instances, short periods of arrears may mount up to HMRC, or in worse cases, your company may be subject to a Tax Assessment or Investigation, which results in an unforeseen liability.

Whilst HMRC do not have any priority or additional powers over other general creditors, once they become aware of such a situation, they are much more likely to commence formal recovery action.

If you have received a demand for repayment, that your company is unable to meet, this may result in HMRC instructing bailiffs to attend the trading premises to carry out enforcement action.  Should this occur, it is likely to significantly impact your company’s ability to trade.

Depending on the level of arrears, and the period over which they relate, HMRC are also much more likely to issue a winding up petition that a general supplier.

If a winding up petition is served on your company, it will be advertised in the London Gazette shortly thereafter.  Once advertised, the company’s bank will become aware of the petition, and immediately seek to freeze the company’s bank account.

Once you are aware of a winding up petition, as a director, you are also precluded from disposing of any assets of the business, even if only to secure short term finance.

Any of the above can have a disastrous impact on your business.

If you are concerned about your company’s HMRC arrears or have received demands for repayments that your company is unable to satisfy, it is imperative that you seek independent advice at the earliest opportunity.

At The Insolvency Experts, we have considerable experience with negotiating with HMRC on behalf of companies, either to delay any action being taken in the short term, or to assist the company with proposing a Time to Pay Arrangement in respect of its arrears.

How Does This Work?

A Time to Pay Arrangement is an agreement between your company and HMRC, to settle its arrears over a period of time.

Any requests for a Time to Pay Arrangement must be submitted in writing, together with documentary evidence of the company’s financial position and inability to pay the debt in full by the due date.

The exact monthly payments and timeframe will be determined on a case by case basis, depending on your company’s’ financial circumstances.  We will assist in this regard by reviewing your short term working capital requirements, and cash flow forecasts to ascertain what is affordable.

It should be noted that HMRC are unable to agree to a reduction in the amount repayable, but may be willing to support repayments on a monthly basis, over a short period.

Key Points in relation to HMRC Time to Pay Arrangements

  • It is important to obtain advice as early as possible, in order that negotiations with HMRC can start before they have commenced winding up proceedings
  • HMRC must be satisfied that the company cannot repay the debt in full
  • The proposal must stand a reasonable chance of being implemented and adhered to
  • All future HMRC liabilities must be settled in full, and on time
  • The Arrangement must be over the shortest timeframe possible, and ensure the debt is repaid in full
  • The company must not have a poor HMRC compliance history

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