More businesses are requesting loans to pay their tax bills as HMRC gets
tougher on Time-to-pay deferrals, a finance provider has claimed.
Syscap reported 427 outstanding requests from businesses specifically asking
for cash to cover tax payments – a 62% increase from the 263 appeals at the
same time last year.
On January 31, all unincorporated businesses from sole traders through to
large partnerships will have to make a payment on account of half of their
previous year’s tax bill, Syscap warned.
The government’s Time-to-pay scheme was devised to allow businesses to defer
their tax payments during the recession but HM Revenue & Customs has been
asking businesses to provide more paperwork when applying for the scheme,
according to finance provider Syscap.
The average amount of funding requested by businesses was £450,000, compared
to the previous year’s average of £200,000, Syscap found.
Philip White, CEO of Syscap, said: “Feedback that we have received from
customers suggests that over the last six months HMRC has been gradually
making it harder for businesses to access its Time-to-pay scheme.
“Although HMRC currently will not force a business to sell its ‘essential
assets’ to pay a tax debt, it may expect them to sell more liquid assets. A
poorly timed sale of assets could cost a business dearly.”
An HMRC spokeswoman said: “The eligibility rules for the Business Payment
Support Service have not changed since it was introduced in November 2008.
“Although there is no limit on the number of arrangements a business can
have, additional questions would be asked when businesses make a repeat request.
This is to ensure that the business is still viable and is taking all possible
steps to pay off its other debts.
“Each request must therefore be considered on its own merits and any extra
information required will vary from case to case.
“If individuals or businesses can’t pay what they owe the most important
thing is to contact HMRC straight away – things never get better by being left
or when HMRC notices to pay are ignored. The sooner people contact us the sooner
we can begin working with them to find a solution.”
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