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Negotiating with HMRC

HMRC Time To Pay (TTP) Arrangement.

Surviving large HMRC Debt without personal liability.


HBG Advisory is here to help with HMRC Inland Revenue Debt.

The HM Revenue and Customs has vast resources to recover tax that remains unpaid. It is very important to prioritise HMRC Debt.

If you Can’t  pay your VAT or PAYE bill to HMRC on time, then something is financially wrong within your business and you need to safeguard your position as a director and that of the creditors of the company.

Paying debts to HMRC, whether VAT, PAYE, Corporation Tax, on time is essential for every business. Failure to do so, is a sign of insolvency and may result in action against the company and you potentially as a director for wrongful trading whilst insolvent.

Do not create a “head in the sand” moment.

Take action immediately. Failure to do so can affect your ability to make any negotiations with the HMRC difficult and can also result in penalty fines and interest charged.

For example If still before your payment due date then you should call their Business Support Line and talk to them. Don’t think there are any “soft” options; You need to be honest about the cash flow issue you have and how you can make good the monies due. Failure to do so will result in legal action against the business. If this is not the first time your payment has been late, then do not expect much support, unless you can demonstrate extraordinary circumstances for this repeat issue.

Avoid a Compulsory winding up order or having to consider a “Creditors Voluntary Liquidation” by taking early preventative action now!


Ensure you appoint someone to act on your behalf if you feel unsure to deal with the HMRC.
You may allow a person or organisation to handle the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for you. You may choose your Accountant, a trusted friend or experienced relative.

If you are required to complete a Self Assessment tax return, then the HMRC will forward all communications to the person you’ve authorised. They though will send you tax bills or any refund payments. Otherwise, HMRC will continue to write to you.

When only requiring help with your Self Assessment return just call the HMRC. Ensure you are with the person who is nominated to help you when you call so they are in the circle. The HMRC will confirm their identity and check that you’re happy for them to represent you.

When you authorise a nominated agent to supervise your tax affairs

An appointed agent can be:

  • a Qualified accountant or tax adviser
  • an experienced friend or relative
  • A member of a voluntary organisation
  • The HMRC has a standard for agents accepted.

    In order, to appoint an agent, ask them to logon to the HMRC’s online authorisation service or complete form 64-8 and forward it to HMRC.

    You may appoint a VAT agent logging onto the VAT online services.

    You may authorise a person to act as your trusted helper to manage your tax affairs online.
    They may be a friend or family member. They can:

  • ensure you’re paying the right amount of Income Tax
  • update your personal tax account
  • make a claim a tax refund payable to you
  • Note though you are still legally liable for payment of your own tax.

    Authorise a friend, relative or voluntary organisation to act as an intermediary
    When unable due to ill health or you do not speak or understand English, arrange a person to interpret your dealings with the HMRC for you. Known as an ‘intermediary’. An intermediary should assist :

    talking to the HMRC and answer any questions for you.
    assist in the completion of any forms requested by HMRC.
    An intermediary though has no access to your tax online.

    To authorise an intermediary to assist in interpretation write to HMRC.

    National Insurance contributions and Employers Office
    HM Revenue and Customs
    BX9 1AN


    Telephone: 0300 200 3835

    Monday to Friday: 8 am to 8 pm

    Saturday and Sunday: 8 am to 4 pm

    If you have missed the payment deadline and have already received a letter from HMRC threatening legal action, then you must contact that HMRC office.


    Before you contact HMRC:-

    • You’ll need to know:
    • your reference number (for example, your 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference or VAT reference number)
    • the amount of the tax bill you’re finding it difficult to pay and the reasons why?
    • what you’ve done to try to get the money to pay the bill
    • how much you can pay immediately and how long you may need to pay the rest?
    • your bank account details


    • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will ask you about your income and expenditure
    • your assets, savings and investments
    • What you’re doing to get your tax payments back in order

    HMRC will decide whether you should be able to pay immediately. If unable, they’ll determine whether you’ll be able to get your payments back on track with more time.

    In more complex cases, HMRC may ask for proof before they make a decision.

    The positive news is that HMRC may allow you time to pay your debt, also known as TTP (Time To Pay) Arrangement.

    If agreed HMRC will assess what you can pay now and then how much over what period, usually by Direct Debit on dates agreed. You will be liable to interest on the late payments.

    If you agree a TTP Arrangement, then you must keep those payments up to date. Otherwise, it is likely to be cancelled and immediate legal action issued.

    During the Coronavirus pandemic, the HMRC are be more ameanable to help as the government strives to assist businesses during this challenging period.

    Normally, Time To Pay agreements have a 3.5% penalty applied though during the pandemic, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s says this is to be be waived whilst the pandemic exists.
    If you are worried not being able to pay the HMRC, then this should be your first option to resolve matters , failing which call HBG Advisory for immediate help.

    The HMRC have set up a new helpline for business owners. HMRC Coronavirus Helpline Telephone: 0800 015 9559


    When talking to the HMRC, only agree a monthly amount that you can afford. Do not be pressured to agreeing on an amount that you will fail to make.

    Ensure they understand this – The HMRC will have little confidence in your arrangement if you agree to whatever they propose and a month or so later you fail to make the arranged payment. Credibility with the HMRC is important.

    Take time to understand you’re ongoing cashflow and be honest and perhaps conservative in your figures ensuring AFFORDABILITY.

    Ensure your genuine thoughts and cash flow are honest and the HMRC are with you on your arrangement and informed. You usually only have once chance. This is when professional advice is important and ranks with credibility with the HMRC. HBG Advisory can assist on this as our team has many years of experience dealing with the HMRC.

    The HMRC wants you to take matters seriously. Remember they control our public money and they themselves are held to account as well.



    Limited companies afford director’s protection, though, does not apply to PAYE or National Insurance arrears when a director is proven negligent. When this is the case, directors should seek help. Contact HBG Advisory today for immediate Help!

    Trading while insolvent and allowing preference to a creditor over PAYE or NI can enable the HMRC to take action .


    VAT arrears should be acted upon promptly. Notable VAT arrears is a sign of insolvency. Therefore this may prompt HMRC to investigate the company’s overall tax affairs.

    What you can do: VAT Arrears requires immediate resolution. Ensure you contact the HMRC as soon as you are aware you Can’t pay your VAT. Negotiate if. If you experience problems contact HBG Advisory and we we will assist.


    Corporation tax. – A tax paid by businesses on year-end profits. The rate of tax is 19%. 

    The HMRC claim corporation tax payments, providing profits are below £1.5 million, nine months after your business tax period ends. Often this creates a problem, as some business owners use the tax provision, rather than pay it over as when due if not before. It then becomes challenging to find the tax money later.

    When this happens, the HMRC uses the same collection strategy to collect outstanding corporation tax – They will issue fines, and as such, the debt can increase substantially. So it is essential you look for advice quickly and arrange a Time to Pay arrangement failing which consult a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner for further information.


    HMRC are no longer a Preferential Creditor. In April 2014 changes to the Law allows the HMRC to secure Tax that is overdue from an individual or company bank account. To do this, the HMRC has a duty of care advising you and the company of its intentions via numerous requests and demands. They have the option to freeze your bank account as an initial warning to leverage their position to prompt you to pay. Legally, if they do this, £5,000 must be left in your bank account after they have drawn cash out.


    The HMRC  can pursue directors personally for PAYE tax arrears and National Insurance Contributions under the Social Security Act.

    But you are not alone. We have helped many businesses with cash flow issues and prepared their case for negotiating with HMRC. Remember, the HMRC are an Unsecured Creditor. It is a “negotiation” and asking for 12 months to pay; you may only get offered only 6. We have experience on how to negotiate that could help you. 


    Directors and LLP members are accountable jointly and severally liable for specific tax debts unpaid.
    The Royal Assent of Finance Bill 2019/20, set out to catch in a net for HMRC, directors, LLP members, shadow directors and bodies involved in a company’s, or an LLP’s, tax evasion, avoidance or phoenixism scheme. Then, they are jointly and severally liable for the business’s unpaid tax.
    This Bill is to prevent individuals from profiting while operation an avoidance or evasion scheme while entering a process of insolvency of their business.

    For a Joint Liability Notice to be issued, five requirements are required before the HMRC can issue


    The company/LLP was engaged in tax avoidance or evasion
    Tax liability arises from the avoidance or evasion
    An insolvency procedure is underway for the company, or there is serious potential for insolvency to occur
    The person either was responsible for the company/LLP’s conduct, enabled it or benefited from it
    There is a ‘serious possibility’ some or all of that tax will not be paid
    Changes to the rules will assist the HMRC to benefit from issuing a Joint Liability Notice when persons are serials insolvency offenders and do not pay tax.

    Targeting phoenixism in the UK

    Three conditions are required before any notice:
    Any previous companies became insolvent, and have tax owing to HMRC
    If a person is connected to two or more companies, which went through an insolvency process within a five-year term.
    and if any person was combined to a company which operates the trading of any insolvent companies

    Changes will tag tax liabilities for periods once the above Bill has Royal Assent.


    Having an owner-managed business means your business will be registered with the HMRC as a trading entity. Whether you are a limited company, LLP or sole trader, the HMRC have a responsibility to seek tax due.
    The HMRC are very focused and time-sensitive when collecting outstanding debt to the crown. They will persist until paid, and may even if your business fails, chase you if any misfeasance is proven.


    NO only if your business fails.

    If your business is facing financial pressures and still trades, then the only option is to pay the tax owed—failing which, the issue may worsen perhaps past resolution.

    The culture of the HMRC is not to write off tax owed unless it is beyond collection.

    If you ignore tax owed, then you will find it will grow and attract interest and fines. Then the HMRC once they have exhausted all collection methods will issue a winding-up petition.

    Your business then runs the severe risk of Insolvency. This then appoints the official receiver who probably investigate the conduct of the directors and look at, if the company traded while insolvent.

    If you and your company are under threat, seek help from an insolvency practitioner to help you negotiate your way out of debt and save the business.

    Often arrangements can be made to cover the payment of debts over a more extended period, allowing your business to remain trading.

    Please contact us for a confidential and no-obligation discussion.

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