I’ve woken up to a HMRC bailiff at my door

Today’s the start of September and it’s also when HMRC has stated that if businesses are unwilling to contact them about HMRC arrears they could restart the process of debt enforcement.

HMRC enforcement officers are back making visits, if you have unpaid HMRC arrears and have ignored letters from HMRC then it’s highly likely they will be paying you a visit.

When a business is in debt and cash flow is tight it can feel like every day is a battle, having bailiffs turn up at your home or business is a stress you don’t need.

How to avoid a HMRC bailiff turning up? 

Whatever the issue is, no matter how much HMRC arrears that you have, the most important thing you should do is call them.

There are more people and businesses with HMRC arrears now than there were after the financial crisis in 2008. You are not alone and many businesses are also struggling with HMRC arrears.

The HMRC has publicly stated that they will work with people and help support them.

Make no mistake the HMRC has the power to take goods and force a business into insolvency proceedings but these are last resorts and right now they have never been more flexible in assisting businesses with HMRC arrears.

Here is what to do

Get all your HMRC reference numbers together, for example, corporation tax, VAT, and PAYE reference numbers

Call the HMRC to explain your situation (block out an hour as it can take some time to get through)

Negotiate a Time To Pay Arrangement. This is where you can agree to pay your HMRC arrears over an extended period of time. It used to be 12 months but now you can get your HMRC arrears stretched over 2 years and in certain situations 3 years.

Don’t commit to a Time To Pay Arrangement unless you can afford it. If your business revenue still hasn’t picked up then call the HMRC to let them know. Put it on file and say that you will update them in 1-3 months. This should put a stop to enforcement action and buy you some more time.

Take professional advice. If your business is struggling with HMRC arrears it’s a red light that you may need to seek insolvency advice. It’s very important that you don’t make the HMRC position worse by continuing to trade, building up more HMRC arrears with no prospect of ever paying them. This could land you in trouble personally.

Any questions please get in touch,

All the best,


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