Titcheners enters administration over tax debt

Accountancy firm Titcheners has entered administration after facing a winding
up order from the taxman.

Joint administrators from Begbies Traynor, Paul Mather, Mark Fry and Neil
Mather, were appointed to the firm on Friday.

Titcheners chairman Roy Ashton slammed HMRC for issuing a winding up order
claiming that, with a buyer lined up for the business for the end of the year,
forcing the firm into administration was “uncommercial”.

Ashton believes that the taxman could actually lose out due to its actions,
as HRMC was unlikely to recoup as much of its debt from the sale of a firm in
administration rather than a solvent business.

“They seem to have decided, hell or high water, that they’ll pursue [the
firm],” he said. “There’s been no quarter given.”

Ashton told Accountancy Age that the firm had struggled after
several acquisitions made during 2006 and 2007 failed to provide the revenues

“They didn’t bring to the party what we thought,” said Ashton.

As revenues tailed off, the firm substantially downsized between November
2008 to June 2009, reducing staff numbers by 72% and turnover to £1.8m from £4m.
It was still left with a substantial debt to HMRC, a figure which Ashton would
not disclose.

The firm is running as a going concern, and the sale is still planned, said
Ashton. He would remain as chair after the completion of the deal.

“We’re now a viable business,” he added.

Paul Mather of Begbies Traynor, lead partner on the assignment, said: “the
joint administrators are optimistic that a sale of the business and assets can
be concluded within a relatively short time frame. There has been already
interest shown from a number of parties.”

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