When will HMRC start sending the heavies in?

4 February 2011

We all know how ridiculous it is to expect people to pay their tax bills at the end of Januar y- that infamously ridiculously long month trying to stretch the pennies left after Christmas excesses. And yes, I know people should have budgeted for tax due, but how many of us always do what we should? Exactly.

hmrcKitchenerBut now, and as reported in full technicolour outrage by the Daily Mail, HMRC are going to start sending the heavies in - engaging debt collectors to extract the outstanding cash from poor unsuspecting taxpayers.

At the moment it is not clear whether the big boys will be sent after those who have run up debts in excess of £10,000, or, as was the case in last year’s pilot scheme, those who are ‘legacy’ debtors, ie who have been a naughty boy or girl for an extended period of time.

There were concerns raised last year when some smaller companies were contacted by these agencies before a debt had even become due for payment. The response? "HMRC does not recognise the scenario described."

While you could argue it is only fair that the historic or huge debtor should be subject to chasing in order to recoup Treasury money rightly owned, we have probably all been on the receiving end of heavy-handed, inappropriate or plain ridiculous debt collection agency tactics, that are not really in keeping with an organisation that prides itself on having ‘customers’. HMRC have always had recourse to sending in bailiffs in extreme cases- is this not reasonable force?

And if you are reading, ridiculous pretending-to-be-Australian female car insurance company, whose rude and aggressive debt collectors chased me for £24.31 when I was still a direct debit customer, yes, I am thinking of you...


  • Marky M.
    Great way to reduce the dole queue too -- send one heavy to each Vodafone store until they cough up.
  • Den B.
    Debt collectors=no power, so tell them to SOD OFF!!
  • Whisky
    @Den Bastard or better yet, pay your fucking bills.
  • Will G.
    @Dan Bastard. Of course they do. They register 10's of thousands of CCJ's every year. Pay your bills you scum bag.
  • Big G.
    There are two ways to get out of the mess we are in, cut budgets or increase revenue, getting people to pay their bills is the latter.
  • lumoruk
    HMRC have finally caught up with the hotukdeals group?
  • Alexis
    Debt collectors are easy to ignore and surely more people would respond to a threatening letter from HMRC themselves rather than a powerless private company?
  • Kevin
    Obviously there are lots of cases where things are happening for no reasons but when it's a simple matter of you owe money it's your responsibility to pay it. So pay or take the consequences. In a way it makes sense to get external people as then it's just done as a straight job with set rules.
  • Stephen
    @Will G Debt collectors don't have any power. Bailiffs do. Debt collectors don't.
  • Mr T.
    Always an interesting discussion, with the self righteous blinded by their own mastery of successfully meeting their tax obligations. I have recently been in a situation where i struggled to save all the tax as a self employed person. You know what would have been easier? Or indeed more financially rewarding? Stopping work, getting housing benefit and claiming the rock and roll. SO rather than paying a small amount of tax that one can manage, I could have been living off of other tax payers and indeed making money from it. H/benefit in my region would give me more money for rent than i actually pay, thus i'd be quids in. Not to mention jobseekers allowance. So i ask you whats better? Somebody making every effort to save tax but because of economic conditions struggling and being offered understanding and latitude from HMRC or somebody thinking, fuck it im better off not working (which indeed i would have been) because firstly i get free money and secondly i dont incur a tax liability. Im not suggesting that ones tax liability should be waived, but HMRC need to understand that many people honestly struggle and choose not to take a free ride at wider societies expense. Employing these sort of tactics will damage that and in the long run, cost them more.
  • Tom
    How are you in a situation where you struggle to save the tax due when self employed? You get paid £1, 30p of which is due as tax (for example). You put the 30p to one side, perhaps in a high interest bank account if one still exists. When the tax is due you pay it.
  • Hanita
    The first paragraph of this article just sums up the typical Self Employed Troglodyte. Didn't budget enough money? Diddums. I don't get a choice in paying my tax - it comes off my wage automatically! Why should the Self Employed be allowed to spend it just because it's Christmas? Get a grip. We all live in the REAL world - pay your bills. You earned the money, you pay the tax. Recession or not, it's that simple.

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