Tough Times for Defaulting Taxpayers

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have in recent years taken an ever more aggressive approach to the collection of underpaid taxes.

A woman who for more than a year underdeclared the VAT payable by the building company of which she was a director has agreed to a ban on acting as a director for seven years after an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

The company went into liquidation in 2015, owing a total of more than £125,000 to its creditors. The largest creditor is HMRC, who are owed more than £95,000.

HMRC have also revealed a massive increase in the number of businesses whose assets were seized by them under a 'control of goods' order to settle overdue tax debts. From 649 in 2014/2015, the number rose to 1,592 in 2015/2016 – an increase of nearly 150 per cent. The value of assets seized rose to more than £42 million, up from £15 million in 2014/2015.

Where a control of goods seizure occurs, HMRC sell the seized goods at auction, unless the debt due is settled within seven days. In many cases, such a process can prove catastrophic for the business, making it impossible to continue to trade.