HMRC has a right to Secrecy

Speculation abounds as to how tough HMRC will get with companies wanting to take advantage of the “Time to Pay” tax deferral scheme. There are signs that its not going to be so easy if you’re a bit cash strapped and want more time to pay the taxman. Many insolvency practitioners, credit insurers and ordinary trade suppliers are still wondering why insolvencies are considerably lower than expected over the last year, and its no surprise they are pointing to the “Time To Pay” scheme as delaying the inevitable collapse of many organisations.
However, I’ve got to say that i don’t agree with those voices crying out for the HMRC to publish a list of all those companies that have been given a helping hand through the scheme. Since the abolition of Crown Preference in 2003, HMRC is seen in law as an unsecured creditor, ranking alongside other unsecured trade suppliers for instance. So, if HMRC wants to enter into a private arrangement with a debtor in order to protect its financial interests in the longer term, it is entitled to do so surely? After all, this kind of secret arrangement between an unsecured supplier and its customer is done everyday across the land, and no one expects details to be published anywhere.
I’ve got to say, though, as a credit agency man, I’d love to get my hands on the HMRC “Time To Pay” list- i reckon if I matched that piece of information with what Graydon already has on our business database, a number of “poor” outcomes would be more easily predicted!

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