Newsletter Autumn 2015

Direct recovery of debts

If you are being chased by HMRC to pay any amounts due, ignoring those demands soon won't be an option. From mid-October HMRC are to be given new powers to directly recover debts owing to them from any bank accounts, including ISA accounts and business accounts.

The debt can be made up of tax, penalties or interest, including estimated amounts of tax demanded on an Accelerated Payment Notice (APN), although only debts of £1,000 or more will be considered for direct recovery, but that is a very low threshold. You can rack up penalties of £1,300 by failing to file just one personal tax return.

If you receive aggressive letters demanding payment of tax, don't ignore them, as those demands could be one of the four 'contacts' HMRC are required to make before they access your bank accounts. The final contact must be a face-to-face meeting to establish that the right taxpayer is being targeted and the debt belongs to them. Do not refuse an offer to meet with HMRC, or their appointed debt collector, but ask us for advice before you speak to them.

Your bank should inform you if they receive a notice to pay funds directly to HMRC, and you can lodge an objection against any notice. You will also be able to appeal to a County Court to stop the debt collection procedure.