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Client HMRC visit from enforcement officer

Bit of an unusual one (for me).

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Client has been established 3-4 years and is very behind on PAYE payments.  Outstanding balance is circa 100k.  Client has been taking calls recently from HMRC and has told me that an arranged HMRC visit is taking place.
 

My first thoughts were Vat inspection or PAYE audit etc but client says that the visit is neither; it is a meeting to "arrange a deal" for repayment.  
 

I have never known of such a visit in all my years in practice. Client thinks the lady is an enforcement officer; she is definitely from HMRC, not a debt collection agency. 
 

Just wondering whether anybody else has experienced such a visit and what to expect?

 

Replies (9)

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By DKB-Sheffield
07th Sep 2021 12:15

Hi

Exactly the same 1 month ago. Much lower amounts but substantial PAYE debt.

Client had assured me a TTP agreement was in place (shortly before) before the visit occurred.

I too checked that this was an enforcement officer (i.e. not compliance officer) and that they were from HMRC (not a collection agent) and all checked out.

It is strangely heartening that HMRC are following up on late/ non payments. Particularly for employers who have been in receipt if CJRS* (who have received employee PAYE and NIC as part of the grant)!

* My client was not in receipt of CJRS BTW.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
07th Sep 2021 13:03

I have had reluctant payers door stepped before.

Seems sensible by HMRC to get out and talk to people and not just write letters.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By DKB-Sheffield
07th Sep 2021 13:27

It's sometimes the only way employers/ taxpayers will take it seriously...
- Reminders from us = no action
- Letters from HMRC = ditto
- Demand from Debt Collector = ditto
- Visit from 'Nasty Tax Collector' = immediate action, DD plan in place, taxpayer/ employer is now paying on time - even reading and querying weekly P30/P32 updates!

Doorstep collections work and always have. My late grandfather was a rent collector - hated by many, loved by a few - he got the job done (with the one exception of a future A-list celeb (now also deceased) who still owes/ owed a month's rent from the 50s).

It's just a shame HMRC leave it 1 or 2 years to act - which is often too late for some of the 'fly by night' limiteds!

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Lisa Thomas
By Lisa Thomas
07th Sep 2021 14:04

Your client needs to take insolvency advice asap, if they haven't already.

HMRC will be looking to remove goods and consider forcing liquidation.

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By Manchester_man
07th Sep 2021 22:36

Yes, I think there was a previous call around 12 months ago during which the officer asked that at least the PAYE be paid for months where a CJRS claim was made. They were certainly keen for those periods to be paid and I believe the client has not kept that promise for a few of the CJRS months.

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Replying to Manchester_man:
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By Hugo Fair
08th Sep 2021 00:46

Obviously I can't comment on the specifics of your client's case (even if I had all the facts to hand) ... but the phrase "the officer asked that at least the PAYE be paid for months where a CJRS claim was made" rings false:
1. To the best of my knowledge, HMRC systems have no facility for the employer to 'allocate' PAYE arrears to specific tax months (or to be precise their systems ignore the instruction given by the employer regarding what the payment is for);
2. Any failure to have paid the Tax/NICs (as reported due via a FPS for a particular month) on time, automatically invalidates any CJRS claim made for that same month - making it repayable.

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By Manchester_man
08th Sep 2021 11:32

Ok, I’m that case it sounds like it may be a case of Chinese whispers. I.e.

HMRC: if you don’t pay the PAYE in full and on time for months where a CJRS claim has been made, the claim is invalid and the CJRS is repayable.

Client: HMRC want me to just concentrate on paying the PAYE for CJRS months so I promised I would.

Time will tell

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By Leywood
08th Sep 2021 00:02

Sounds like the days are gone when they used to just turn up and try to put a foot in the door!! Had one very aggressive lady turn up at a clients house a few years back and refused to budge, client just kept demanding back what HMRC owed him, which was more than they were were trying to collect. Stand-off for about 2 hours, with client talking through porch door as refused to open it.

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By Jack the Lad
08th Sep 2021 14:08

I would definitely NOT recommend that they agree to a meeting at client's premises because of the risk that HMRC may place a lien on client's assets. Meeting should be either at HMRC offices or your offices.
I agree with earlier reply that maybe client needs to see an insolvency practitioner.

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