HMRC trebles haul from company asset seizures

The taxman has almost trebled his haul from increasingly telling businesses that ‘if they can’t pay; he’ll take it away.’

In fact, figures show HM Revenue & Customs seized assets to recover £42.6million of outstanding debt in 2015/16, an increase of 175% from £15.3million in the previous year.

The rise reflects the growing number of firms that, unable to pay their tax, were subjected to a HMRC ‘taking control of goods’ order, said Funding Options, which obtained the figures.  

The funding provider evidenced its claim by pointing out that just 649 businesses had goods removed in 2014/15 to settle an unpaid tax debt, compared with almost 1,600 in the last year.

“With the stark rise in asset seizing, it’s clear that HMRC is cracking down on those businesses with overdue tax bills,” said Funding Options chief executive Conrad Ford.

“The assets seized are then sold at auction… [but they] will often achieve a far lower price than expected, leaving the business with fewer assets and still indebted to the Revenue.”

Ford says HMRC regards asset seizure as “a last resort,” when firms are given just 7 days following a visit from a bailiff to pay the overdue tax before their assets are seized.

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