Taxman says help available as debt collection resumes

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has warned that debt collection will resume as the UK emerges from the pandemic and it will be contacting taxpayers who have fallen behind with their taxes.

During the Coronavirus crisis, HMRC tax debt collection was paused as businesses grappled with the disruption caused by the pandemic.

However, on 30 June 2021, HMRC published a policy paper to note that it is restarting its debt collection work as economic activity resumed.

In its latest announcement, HMRC stated: “If you can pay your taxes then you should do so – but if you are struggling, we want to work with you to agree a plan based on your financial position.”

As a first step HMRC will be contacting all taxpayers with outstanding debts to discuss payment options. You must ensure you respond to these notifications as soon as possible if you are contacted by HMRC.

HMRC will aim to arrange for payment as quickly as possible. Where taxpayers still cannot afford to settle their outstanding tax debts HMRC aims to agree affordable payment options, such as a ‘Time to Pay’ (TTP) arrangement where tax can be paid in agreed instalments.

Alternatively, HMRC notes that it may be able to offer a short-term deferral and is willing to discuss other forms of support, including Government-backed loans and repayment holidays.

HMRC added that it will take an understanding and supportive approach to dealing with those who have tax debts or are concerned about their ability to pay their tax.

It also warned that it will do everything to help businesses with temporary cash-flow issues to survive as the economy grows, but where businesses have little chance of recovery, it has a responsibility to act – not least to protect viable businesses in their supply chains.

Link: Debts owed to HMRC due to COVID-19

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