HMRC asset seizures reach all-time high

The prospect of having goods and assets seized by HMRC might seem far removed from reality, but with news released about the number of asset seizures by HMRC last year reaching an all-time high, self-assessed taxpayers need to take debt settlement seriously.

The Time to Pay scheme, introduced early on in the recession, was designed to help small businesses experiencing cash flow problems to defer tax payments. However, the leniency on this has waned in subsequent years and now seems well and truly over, as demonstrated with a reported 8% rise in seizures last year compared with 2011/2012.

This absolutely enforces the need for good business planning and measures such as regular cash flow forecasting, to avoid HMRC exercising its power – which can result in visits to premises for debt collection, and removal and sale of assets and goods within five days if the debt cannot be settled – and without a court order.

With the January 31 tax deadline looming, we would advise businesses to seriously consider the consequences of not ensuring funds are in place to cover tax payments due. Anyone interested in further information on how we can support businesses with software or other aids to make business planning and cash flow monitoring easier, can get in touch with us over phone or email.