can we do deals with hmrc

The key is to understand deals with HMRC and speak to our friends at HMRC to see what they envisage as the way forward.

Knowing the age and profile of the debt is imperative. So the question asked is – Deals with HMRC?

Undoubtedly over the years, HMRC have become more empathetic but they do not suffer fools or BS!

The worst scenario for us is if a client ‘is less than truthful’ with us, as to the extent of the amounts due and/or the dialogue to date. Usually, our input with HMRC is welcomed as we bring realism to the situation.

Whilst HMRC can be receptive and assist in terms of payment programmes etc, they do not and will not waste time with what they sometimes refer to as…‘serial offenders’.

This becomes apparent whenever clients, either as individuals or in a corporate manner, seek protection from their creditors, with the use of IVA’s or CVA’s. HMRC consider these approaches and look thoroughly at:

  • Compliance along the way i.e. not serial offenders,
  • The age of the debt and history of payments,
  • The magnitude of the debt and the return offered via the IVA/CVA, and
  • Ensuring that if they are to vote for such arrangements, they will seek to impose stringent terms, e.g.
  • a Supervisor must ensure are fully complied with.

At Bell & Company, we act for 300+ clients at any one point and negotiate with all types of creditors.

All differ in their approach but most are pragmatic when it comes to a final decision of some return versus a situation of little or no return.

This is because the decision-maker must ensure they maximise the return for their stakeholders.

Most Government bodies do not entertain this stakeholder return concept…..especially HMRC.

Any number of times we have commented when dealing with HMRC that the offer being made is in the best interest of the stakeholders i.e. the Chancellor of the Exchequer and YOU & US! but they are in the main never interested.

Very often HMRC are one of a number of debts in a struggling business.

Whilst we believe most trade creditors can be pragmatic in their approach, the HMRC typical rigid stance will usually scupper any plan, and this, in turn, hits the other creditors’ chances of some recovery.

HMRC are looking at increasing their recovery of debts and powers including:

  1. Becoming preferred in the event of liquidation in the future as was the position 10+ years ago,
  2. Looking at going behind the Corporate ‘veil’ in ‘phoenix’ newco’s….a very different approach being fought ‘tough and nail, by the Insolvency organisation – R3, and
  3. Increasing use of Walking Possession’ Orders, to secure assets to their favour.

Anyway that’s our opinion and whilst it seems negative, it’s important to know the real position here. Reliance on hope, misplaced advice and delusion will only make the position worse.

We at Bell & Company take a complete overview of every enquiry and whilst business may have a myriad of problems – it’s knowing and deciphering the priorities and HMRC ARE VERY OFTEN THE PRIORITY.

As ever in debt-fuelled circumstances ‘know the worst – achieve the best from there’. 


Terry Bell
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