Time to pay lifeline open to accountancy firms

The taxman has now announced the Business Payments Support Service will be
fully extended to all partnerships with immediate effect.

This will allow members of an accountancy practice unable to pay their tax
bills due to cash-flow problems facing their firm, to arrange a joint
time-to-pay agreement with the tax authorities.

“This development is a major breakthrough for any sizeable practice which
might be feeling pressure on cash flow in the current climate,” said Richard
Mannion, national tax director at Smith & Williamson.

“Inevitably, problems and inconsistencies occurred when there were say, 50,
100 or more individual partners, typically spread over different offices each
trying to draw up their own arrangement with their local tax inspector. The old
system just didn’t work.”

The BPSS largely overlooked the needs of larger partnerships where the
companies’ taxable profits are all allocated to the individual partners.

This meant the partnership itself had no income tax liability and HMRC’s
systems operated on the premise that each individual partner should make a
separate time to pay application.

The partners must be able to demonstrate they are unable to pay their
individual liability in full but that it can be repaid within 12 months, Smith
& Williamson added.

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