Taxman criticised over handling of businesses mis-sold rate swaps

by Calum Fuller

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23 Nov 2012

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THE TAXMAN has been accused of failing to help companies threatened with administration after they ran into difficulty having been mis-sold interest rate swaps.

Guto Bebb, head of the all-party parliamentary group on swap mis-selling, said MPs had "concerns" that HMRC was being "rather less than sympathetic" in its handling of cases involving businesses mis-sold complex interest rate derivatives by their lenders.

"It is very concerning to see that HM Revenue & Customs appears intent on pushing businesses that might well be eligible for redress into administration," said Mr Bebb in a letter to Mike Eland, director-general for enforcement and compliance at HMRC.

Member firms of the UK200Group backed Bebb's criticism, with David Ingall, consultant with JWPCreers, noting the issue was "yet another example of government not recognising the issues that the real world has to face".

He added: "The political section of government needs to address the swap issue and encourage the banks to come to settlements with their customers where there has been mis-selling."

A spokesman for HMRC said: "HMRC offers a range of support to businesses in temporary financial difficulties, to help them manage their cashflow problems. Where businesses are facing genuine short-term cashflow difficulties for whatever reason, it is important they approach us as soon as they realise, so that we can consider early on whether time to pay is appropriate.

"HMRC is always happy to meet with recognised representative groups to discuss the needs of the groups they represent."

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