According to The Independent, the number of firms facing asset seizures jumped 45% from 2016-17 and has increased more than four times since 2014-15.
HMRC seized assets from almost 3000 businesses in 2017 as the government increases the pressure on companies who are behind in their tax liabilities.
The HMRC has the power to take assets from businesses that do not have the cash to pay their tax bill, to include IT equipment and machinery causing some firms to simply cease trading.
It's in the HMRC's interest to help these companies engage with them and be sympathetic by providing time-to-pay arrangements (monthly payment plans) that struggling businesses can afford, rather than threatening with bailiffs, incomparable security from business owners/Directors or even more serious, criminal convictions, unreasonable fines, cease trading orders and wind up petitions.
The increasingly aggressive debt collection stance comes at a time when businesses are already facing huge risks from rising interest rates, economic uncertainty and barriers to trade as a result of Brexit.
The CEO of Funding Options website, Conrad Ford, has said that the HMRC should investigate other methods of recouping tax, such as giving firms the option to spread payments over a longer period.
“HMRC is jeopardising the future of these businesses and 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. Cashflow difficulties that mean a business cannot settle its tax bills should not spell the end for them.“
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