HMRC helpline works on restructuring tax bills worth £440m

HM Revenue and Customs

HM Revenue & Customs’ brand new helpline has so far received almost
23,000 calls from businesses struggling to pay their tax bills.

Statistics released from HMRC yesterday (23 December)show that in the four
weeks since the launch of the business payment support service there have been
22,700 calls with 10,000 new payment arrangements worth £168.8m in tax agreed
over the phone.

A further 3,900 cases worth £271.1m have been referred for more
‘consideration’. A total of £440m in tax being restructured or reconsidered by

Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary in charge of tax at HMRC, said: ‘We are
pleased that so many businesses in temporary difficulty are using this service
and getting help tailored to their needs. We will offer this service for as long
as it is needed. Businesses should get in touch with us soon as they will have
difficulty paying their taxes and meeting other obligations because of this
economic downturn.’

The new support service was launched at the end of November to help companies
and businesses struggling with the downturn in trade and liquidity issues that
might affect their ability to pay their tax.

The news came on the day the Tories accused HMRC of pushing businesses over
the edge. The party’s economic spokesman Justine Greening said government was
actually driving businesses ‘under’ through the pursuit of tax bills.

The Tories have proposed a scheme costed at £10bn allowing business to delay
payment of VAT for up to six months.

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