HMRC WAS responsible for 58% of all winding up petitions in the last year compared to 43% in the previous year, research by UHY Hacker Young has revealed.
According to the research HMRC is now taking an aggressive line against businesses which cannot afford to pay their tax bill, winding up approximately 6,400 companies in the last 12 months.
HMRC has been particularly harsh on football clubs petitioning against more than 6 clubs in the last year, including Sheffield Wednesday, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Cardiff City and AFC Bournemouth.
Tax partner at UHY Roy Maughma said the taxman was “shedding” its more sympathetic approach to struggling businesses during the recession – such as its tax deferral scheme Time to Pay (TTP).
Although Maughma conceded there was no official announcement from HMRC of its change of heart, he said the jump in attempts to liquidate businesses showed a “clear trend”.
According to HMRC statistics from January to September 2010 there was just £1.9bn worth of TTP requests approved. This compares with £3.4bn for the same period last year.
Maugham said the coalition government’s commitment to reduce public borrowing may have allowed HMRC to take the gloves off again.
However, he stressed that businesses “don’t delay paying tax for fun”, and some companies were still in need of the deferral scheme.
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