HMRC’s debt collection activities were paused during the pandemic and staff redeployed to other covid related support areas. HMRC have confirmed that it’s debt collection work is now being restarted and will be contacting customers who have fallen behind with their tax during the pandemic. There is restriction on the presentation of statutory demands and winding up petitions, these are due to be relaxed on 30 September 2021.

HMRC’s message remains: if you can pay your taxes then you should do so – but if you’re struggling, we want to work with you to agree a plan based on your financial position.

If any business has tax arrears, HMRC urge early engagement to avoid further action being taken.

The problem that many businesses face is uncertainty over future cashflow and the ability to meet time to pay arrangements. We see little benefit in entering unrealistic or unaffordable arrangements. Many businesses with significant arrears tax arrears have had no recent contact from HMRC. This is likely to change in the very near future and is likely to bring pressure and stress to many.

Business owners with concerns over solvency and cashflow should consider early discussions with their professional advisors or an insolvency practitioner. There are many alternatives to liquidation and bankruptcy. Most insolvency practitioners offer a free confidential initial consultation and can provide invaluable advice on what options are available.

A great deal of information can be found on-line on debt and insolvency options. Providing debt advice, it is never a case of one size fits all. Insolvency Practitioners will provide specific and tailored advice depending on the individual circumstances. This will enable the business owner to make the best decisions based on their own needs and hopefully avoid unpleasant enforcement action, taking control of goods and court proceedings.

View the HMRC post Covid debt collection policy