HMRC to beef up moves to shut-down companies that don’t pay tax

January 21st, 2013 16 Comments By Mof Gimmers

taxbill 300x180 HMRC to beef up moves to shut down companies that dont pay taxHMRC are getting tough, apparently, with their attempts to shut down firms that are late paying their tax. Cases of closed-down companies have jumped 57% in a year, according to a new survey.

Business botherers, Wilkins Kennedy, have said HMRC presented 5,302 petitions to wind up those paying late in the year ending March 31 last year, compared to 3,367 in the previous period.

After businesses enter “compulsory liquidation” following a winding up order, a liquidator can be appointed to sell off assets to generate cash to pay creditors. HMRC can also use the orders to reclaim debts from unpaid tax.

Anthony Cork, partner at Wilkins Kennedy, said: “When businesses run into trouble, often one of the first things they do is try to delay tax payments to help manage their cash flow – this puts businesses on a collision course with HMRC. HMRC does not like being used as a ‘lender of first resort’, and is keen to dispel the image that it is a soft touch or that the unauthorised late payment of taxes is an acceptable way for a business to resolve cash flow problems.”

HMRC got tough with some high profile cases too, with Comet getting kicked around over £26m in unpaid VAT and payroll taxes, as well as Chester City and Rangers feeling the force of the tax office. Cork added: “Businesses need to be very careful about getting on the wrong side of HMRC – these figures show HMRC has become increasingly unwilling to compromise in its pursuit of missing taxes.”

HMRC told Sky News that they’re not trying to be bullies: “HMRC’s aim is not to wind up companies or make individuals bankrupt, but to collect, as efficiently as we can, the debts that are due. HMRC only initiates winding up or bankruptcy action where it believes this is the best course of action to protect the interests of the Exchequer in respect of a particular debt. We do not take such action lightly.”

“Anyone who is struggling to pay an HMRC debt should call us. HMRC has an outstanding track record in supporting those who are experiencing genuine difficulty paying their debts, and this approach will continue.”


Comments (16) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Posted by Inspector Gadget January 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Something something Starbucks

  2. Posted by Bogbrush January 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    HMRC would make a struggling firm go bust to claim it’s money and leave the DWP to pay out more on unemployment benefits etc.

    “Anyone who is struggling to pay an HMRC debt should call us” [and we'll move heaven and earth to extract the last penny from you before anyone else gets it].

  3. Posted by Waterboy8535 January 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    So Bogbrush, if they don’t chase tax dodging companies then their lazy and not doing their jobs, but if they do then they are detroying companies?

    You can’t have it both ways

  4. Posted by Bogbrush January 21, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    @Waterboy8535: you’re right. But it seems that the ones that avoid taxes get way with it (the tax dodgers). The ones that generally pay and get caught short are the ones that get buggered.

  5. Posted by WhatTheHell January 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Meh, they won’t go after the real tax dodgers like, ooh… Amazon?

  6. Posted by chewbacca January 21, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    inb4 all the tossers moaning about:


    (is it worth pointing out that the companies mentioned above do pay the correct amount of tax due, or will we just continue with the pitchforks?)

  7. Posted by WhatTheHell January 21, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Too late chewbacca. Got inb4 you. :P

  8. Posted by bah humbug January 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    “HMRC would make a struggling firm go bust to claim it’s money and leave the DWP to pay out more on unemployment benefits etc.”

    Prob with that attitude is the longer HMRC leave it the more chances there are of a company going bust owing weeks and weeks worth of wages to employees never mind suppliers who inevitably won’t get anything back.

    I’ve seen it first hand with a Director winding up a company 2 days before xmas of all days, no notice, no wages, no suppliers paid, all company assets taken by the Director and then he starts trading again. Saw it again locally this year with a different company in our local newspaper.

    It’s a common sense approach that’s needed taking each case on its merits, but yes common sense and HMRC shouldn’t really be placed in the same sentence.

  9. Posted by kv January 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    bye bye Vodafone :D

  10. Posted by Bogbrush January 21, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Perhaps if we only had large corporations who paid no UK tax that’d be best then.

  11. Posted by Kevin January 21, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    So many dumb ****’s around aren’t there.

  12. Posted by badger January 21, 2013 at 9:57 pm


    You’re new here, aren’t you?

  13. Posted by Alexis January 21, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Balls. Any ltd company struggling with tax gets some templated threatograms from HMRC and then can just wind up on Friday and phoenix on Monday. Staff got paid and HMRC get zilch.

  14. Posted by Chewbacca January 25, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    As I’ve never paid tax because I live on benefits – I’ve never ever been late with my payments to HMRC :-)

  15. Posted by chewbacca January 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm


    You fucking moron – anyone who knows me knows I do not live off of benefits I live from selling on Ebay and not declaring my income to HMRC!

  16. Posted by Luzia Holloway November 26, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    I Have paid just under 1 million pounds in taxes in the lats 2 years missed VAT payments due to late payments and some of my customers which went into administration, got heavily penalised, the fees makes Wongar look like Father Christimas. Now i am asking for a reasonable time to pay and not 6 months as given privioulsy. I was set out to fail by HMRC terms. time not given, CVA rejected. 80 people will be made uneployed i can pay the debt in 3 years. however the mentally is is better recover zero by winding up company’s then wait 3 years to be paid in full. Please give a break

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