Tax & admin · 18 January 2018

HMRC offers practical advice to businesses hit by Carillion collapse

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Worried owners have been promised practical help on a range of tax problems

Britain’s tax office has said it will offer practical advice and guidance to small business owners that were contracted by Carillion.

HMRC has announced it will provide advice and guidance through its Business Payment Support Service (BPSS) for business owners who are worried about their ability to pay taxes following the construction giant’s collapse this week.

Through BPSS, business owners can connect with HMRC staff who can offer them practical help on a wide range of tax-related problems.

The tax office claimed BPSS provided a “fast and sympathetic route to agreeing the best way forward” by addressing the most immediate concerns of business owners affected by the Carillion collapse, and offering proper solutions.

HMRC has also said it can provide cash support to affected workers and their families via the tax credits system, and has urged people to visit its website for further details.

Read more: Carillion collapse puts thousands of suppliers and sub-contractors at risk

By consulting BPSS, business owners that are unable to pay their tax liabilities as a result of the Carillion collapse may be able to agree instalment arrangements with HMRC, or suspend certain debt collection proceedings.

Penalties issued to businesses for missing statutory payment deadlines may be able to be reviewed by BPSS, whilst any payments on account could be reduced, or an agreement could be reached to defer certain payments because of cash flow issues.

A statement from HMRC said that for business owners affected by the Carillion collapse, the most important thing to do was to tell the government about it. “Most importantly, if you’re worried about paying your tax, please talk to us because we’re here to help,” the statement read.

Carillion – the UK’s second biggest construction firm – had debts of around £1.5bn when it went into liquidation on 15 January, owing roughly £800m in retention payments to thousands of small suppliers and sub-contractors.

Whilst the government has promised to protect those businesses that were sub-contracted to workon public contracts for Carillion at the time of the firm’s liquidation, the majority of Carillion’s private sector contractors are unlikely to receive financial support from the state going forward.

BPSS is open seven days a week, between 8am and 8pm on weekdays and between 8am and 4pm at weekends. The service is available to any business owner struggling to make tax payments as result of outside economic conditions.

Read more: Banks pledge emergency support measures for Carillion sub-contractors

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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