What Taxpayers Should Do When HMRC Visits Unannounced
Don't panic, I'm here to help ...
Posted by Roger Eddowes on 09/12/2021 @ 8:00AM
HMRC has adopted a softer approach to tax debt collection during the pandemic, giving taxpayers much more flexibility in how and when they pay. However, this is now changing ...
When HMRC visits unannounced, don't panic, I'm here to help!
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I've been made aware that some people are receiving visits from HMRC's bailiffs completely out of the blue. They may not have even been aware they owed tax when the 'field force' arrived on their doorstep.
"These visits are carried out under civil law, but can still be quite alarming when they happen!"
Sometimes, they even make visits when no tax is due. A taxpayer I knew did owe them money, but had paid it off completely some months previously. However, this amended return had not been processed due to IT issues at HMRC and even though a note had been added to the taxpayer's account, the field force still visited.
The accountant's professional body, the ICAEW is working closely with HMRC to ensure better communication between the self-assessment processing team and the debt management team. They are looking into ways to accelerate the processing of amended returns, reducing the times the debt management team takes action.
In the meantime, should you receive an unexpected visit, remember the following:
You do not have to let anyone from HMRC into either your home or business premises
Ask them to leave the letter from HMRC Debt Management and Banking department giving you the reason for the visit
Call your accountant or tax advisor immediately
If HMRC representatives are already in your home or on your business premises, you are legally entitled to ask them to leave
HMRC staff cannot take any documents or other information without your consent
Unless they have a court order they cannot remove any physical property that belongs to you
If you are subject to a 'dawn raid', this will be under criminal law, so you should seek legal representation from a criminal lawyer immediately
The thing to take away from all this is that if HMRC comes knocking, do not let them into your home or business premises and get your accountant or tax advisor to liaise with them to find out what's going on and manage the situation on your behalf.
Unless you've broken the law ... don't panic, I'm here to help.
Until next time ...
Would you like to know more?
If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you're worried you may get an unnanounced visit from HMRC, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 01908 774320 and let's see how I can help you.
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About Roger Eddowes ...
Roger trained at Edward Thomas Peirson & Sons in Market Harborough before working at Hartwell & Co, followed by Chancery, as a partner. He started Essendon Accounts and Tax with Helen Beaumont in 2014 as a general practitioner with a hands-on approach.
Roger loves getting his hands dirty, working with emerging, small-to-medium and family businesses to ensure they receive the best possible accountancy advice. Roger utilises an extensive network of business contacts to leverage the best guidance and practical solutions.
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