Tax & admin · 18 December 2017

HMRC seizes assets from almost 2, 000 small businesses in a year

Past Due
HMRC have cracked down on non-payment of taxes
The Treasury seized business assets from 1, 953 UK firms in 2016to 2017, an increase of 23 per cent since the previous tax year, recent research has shown.

Between 2016 and 2017, the tax office became more aggressive in its pursuing of non-tax paying businesses, according to findings from alternative business finance platform, Funding Options.

Making greater use of its powers to take control of goods, this year HMRC was found to have raided more business premises without warning in order to seize assets and settle overdue company tax disputes.

Putting firms at greater risk of closure, HMRC seized assets that would have been crucial to the running of any small business, such as vital IT infrastructure or machinery.

The research pointed out that assets seized by HMRC were then often sold on, at fire sale prices. In the last 12 months, just 41.6m was raised at asset auctions? a relatively low amount considering the disruption caused to most of the businesses which had their assets taken.

The growing trend towards assets seizures suggests HMRC is looking to crack down heavily on small business owners who arent paying the correct amount of tax.

According to the study, seizing assets can be viewed as HMRC’s last resort, as the government mounts pressure on the body to increase the UK’s overall tax take.



Fred Heritage was previously 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.

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