Legal News

Tough Times for Defaulting Taxpayers

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have in recent years taken an ever more aggressive approach to the collection of underpaid taxes.

A woman who for more than a year underdeclared the VAT payable by the building company of which she was a director has agreed to a ban on acting as a director for seven years after an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

The company went into liquidation in 2015, owing a total of more than £125,000 to its creditors. The largest creditor is HMRC, who are owed more than £95,000.

HMRC have also revealed a massive increase in the number of businesses whose assets were seized by them under a 'control of goods' order to settle overdue tax debts. From 649 in 2014/2015, the number rose to 1,592 in 2015/2016 – an increase of nearly 150 per cent. The value of assets seized rose to more than £42 million, up from £15 million in 2014/2015.

Where a control of goods seizure occurs, HMRC sell the seized goods at auction, unless the debt due is settled within seven days. In many cases, such a process can prove catastrophic for the business, making it impossible to continue to trade.

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    If you are having difficulty meeting your liabilities as they fall due, contact us for advice: it is often possible to achieve a much better outcome if negotiations are commenced earlier rather than later when cash-flow problems become severe. The position of a company director if their company becomes insolvent in such circumstances can be precarious, with a ban on acting as a director or even personal liability for debts being possible outcomes.

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    The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.