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TIme to Pay arrangement

TIme to Pay arrangement

I have just phoned HMRC to make an arrangement to pay for one of my clients. He owes £802 and needs to make 4 payments to settle his account. He has never asked for an arrangement before and the debt has come as a complete shock to him. He has had three jobs in the last 2 years due to redundancies and one of his former employers failed to notify HMRC that he had a Company Car until the year end returns went in the following May. HMRC did nothing about amending his coding notice even then. The debt is the exact amount that the Co Car calculates out at and the poor guy is already worried sick about the debt. He is coming in to the office tomorrow to pay what he thinks will be the first instalment.  

I thought this would be quite straightforward but apparently not. I was told my client had to produce proof that he had applied for and been refused a Bank Loan -(are Banks interested in giving loans of less than £1,000)?, provide copies of current account statements which must apparently show an overdraft and provide copies of any other loan statements/credit card statements etc plus provide a detailed schedule of monthly income and expenditure. 

This is a young man who is single but fully supports his widowed mother following father's early death some years back. He pays the total mortgage, all of the household overheads, Provides most of the food etc.etc and even supported his younger brother through uni so that e did not suffer from their father's death! His mother has never worked and is old enough not to know where to start even if she could. She has a small pension but that is all. They are too proud to claim benefits

I told all of this to the guy I spoke to and am really shocked at the response I got. Is this normal these days or did I just get a very bloody minded ******* on the phone? It felt like he was reading from a script!. .


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19th Jan 2012 16:40

Try ringing again and hope for someone different!

I've found that it depends on who you get on the end of phone. Some put all manner of problems in the way whilst others listen to the case, especially when that person has never asked for time to pay before. A time to pay agreement is supposed to be a last resort so if the worst comes to the worst he might have to demonstrate he's no other way of getting credit. By the time your client has jumped through all those hoops he will have probably paid off the debt anyway.

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19th Jan 2012 16:46

Pay in instalments anyway

Tell him to pay as much as he can by the 31 January. Then pay as much as he can in February, then March, then April. By the time they get to the nasty letter stage he will have paid the tax. It will cost him a bit of interest and 5% of the amount still unpaid at 1 March.

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19th Jan 2012 19:29

Amateur Dramatics a necessity

I know of two people who have consistently negotiated reasonable time to pay for themselves.


One is an over the top theatrical type who is happy to tell tall stories of sad things to the miserable people who answer the phones.


The other is a very nice person who can turn on the charm if necessary and quite clearly has rather more charm than I've ever seen myself!


So it might be worth asking the client to ring HMRC - but you need to talk tactics with him first.


It seems to me it's a game and should be treated as such.

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20th Jan 2012 11:06

Thanks to all. I followed Lesley's advice and rang again this morning. The guy I spoke to this time was really helpful and sympathetic to my client's situation. When I looked back at the file I could see that at least part of the reason for the problem was that the Job Seeker's Allowance people had ignored the official tax code and worked on a normal code thus making the situation 10 times by giving a repayment of previous tax paid! . The new employer obviously carried on with this code but failed to notify HMRC of the car details thus compounding the error. It seems unfair that it is always the tax payer that has to suffer the consequences of these mistakes!

A game for us maybe Moonbeam, but not for the person paying the bill when they really cannot afford it.



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20th Jan 2012 11:21

Not a game for us

I was in no way implying that this is a joyful experience for either the accountant or the client. I'm rather depressed that you viewed my posting as flippant.

By saying it is a game I was implying that those who treat it as such tend to get better treatment than those who think just being open and honest will suffice.

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20th Jan 2012 12:03

How do they sleep at night

I have had two examples of this recently. Both had my blood boiling. One client has been out of pocket by £10k after someone he did a lot of work for went out of business. He is now struggling to pay paye and vat. I called on his behalf and they kept saying he should be more responsible. What an insult to a dedicated man who works 7 days a week. When I called for another client who employs 12 people but is in a very seasonal business I was told he should have made 3 or 4 people redundant and again that he was not responsbile. I was also told that because he had taken £1000 in total in dividends over the last 3 months (he has a wife and young child and mortgage) he was again not being responsible and needed to get his priorities right. On both occasions I was made to feel like complete low life. It was also suggested both times that these people sell their tools and vans, making them have no capacity to earn future money. When people claim benefits are they asked to sell their tv and phone before money is handed out? The person I spoke to the second time was vile.

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20th Jan 2012 12:15

Don't accept nonsense

Matt and Lesley's is the advice you want to follow in this case. Most likely Matt's advice will be less hassle. HMRC are not going to be vicious over a small amount like that, however hard it is for the taxpayer to pay immediately.

When dealing with HMRC it's important to go by a commonsense view and not accept the rubbish that you get told.

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20th Jan 2012 15:03

"I was in no way implying

"I was in no way implying that this is a joyful experience for either the accountant or the client. I'm rather depressed that you viewed my posting as flippant",

Sorry Moonbeam, I wasn't getting at you at all.  I think what you said is very true. Some of the guys and gals at the tax office do obviously think it is fair sport to make people as miserable as they can. I suspect they do the job in the first instance for the power it brings. Some of my clients have reported diabolical conversations with the debt management unit in particular and I have a really decent bunch of clients - no con merchants amongst them. This poor guy was already struggling to pay back a loan and overdraft due to having been made redundant and is not the sort to duck his responsibilities at all.

I am normally better prepared for it and have been known to tell HMRC officers to call back when they can show a bit of respect in the past but this took me totally by surprise, especially as they had no bone to pick with me at all and I had already said the client was not present. All is well that ends well in this instance at least,.It doesn't bode well for the future though does it if this is the level of staff they employ? 


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