Can I stop HMRC bailiffs coming to my business

8 August 2017

An HMRC officer or Enforcement Agent has the power to take control of your goods and possessions in order to satisfy a debt. They can be used by any creditor whose debt has been proven by the court. 
In the event that HMRC want to collect taxes, an officer of HMRC can arrive at your premises after giving 7 days notice. However they are only likely to come after a number of warning letters have been sent. In some cases they will employ a debt collection company to collect the unpaid tax. So how does the Enforcement Officer take the goods? They can do this by taking what is termed "Controlled Goods Agreement".

Controlled Goods Agreement CGA (previously Walking Possession)

This is where an HMRC Officer can take control of the goods, after having sent a Notice of Enforcement and given 7 days notice. If the debt has not been paid, they can take the control of the goods. Legally they cannot force their way in and can only enter through normal modes of entry.
If the goods remain on the premises, the debtor on signing the CGA also signs agreeing to allow the officer to re-enter the premises at any time to inspect or remove the goods. A vehicle can be put in store two hours after they have been secured. 

Effectively if you do not reach a deal or pay in full the officer can sell the assets, giving  7 days notice. It would be a criminal offence if you, as the director, sold assets which are covered in this way. 

What can I do about the HMRC officer?

  • In the first instance you should check who the officer is. If he is an HMRC officer he will hold a HMRC identity card.
  • Is the bill in dispute? If so, then you should contact the HMRC office demanding payment. However, it should be noted that if you do dispute the bill then you should do it in response to the warning letters that have been sent.Sometimes the amount HMRC is seeking to collect may be under appeal. In this instance the bailiff can be asked to leave.
  • You could pay the money. It may be the only way to save the business. If your business if viable but just needs a bit of time then please call us on 08009700539 and we can look into trying to get the business restructured for a rescue. This could be using a CVA or administration

A word of caution. If the company's registered office is your home then that is where the bailiff will turn up! This can be stressful so it is advisable to check. They can only enter a residential property by normal modes of entry and cannot force their way in. 

We are seeing more and more instances of HMRC resorting to Notice of Enforcements to collect unpaid taxes.

Categories: HMRC Time to Pay Arrangement for VAT and PAYE

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