When a business is in arrears with VAT, PAYE, Corporation tax or CIS payments and they have failed to respond to letters or phone calls from HMRC (which many businesses do by the way so you’re not alone) then HMRC will quite often send out one of their staff that they called “Field Force Officers”.
Click on an image to enlarge an example letter
There are almost 1,000 Field Force Officers at HMRC who work from home and every day visit businesses that are in arrears and have not made any recent contact with HMRC. These Field Force Officers are certified bailiffs and have the power to seize goods. This process of seizing goods and assets used to be called levying Distraint but in April 2013 it changed to what is now known as Taking Control of Goods.
Normally for anybody you owe money to to be able to start Taking Control of Goods or seizing company assets they would normally first of all have to get a court order but HMRC have special unique powers in that they do not need to get a court order they can merely turn up unannounced at your premises and start the process of seizing assets.
However, quite often the HMRC Field Force Officers use these powers in a threatening and intimidating way to bully people into paying up by saying they can do things which they can’t. For example on numerous occasions we have had business owners contact us saying they have a HMRC Field Force Officer there and if they don’t pay up immediately they will send for a van and start removing assets. This is not something they can do. We appreciate that you owe HMRC money and it needs to be paid back but there is no need for anybody to be nasty or threatening. Not all HMRC Field Force Officers are like this and some are very nice and reasonable but even with them it can be quite intimidating and frightening if you are unsure of their powers.
We deal with HMRC Field Force officers and the Taking Control of Goods teams based in Leeds almost daily so we know what they can and cannot do and we know when they are saying something which is not true.
So, if you have had a visit from a HMRC Field Force Officer recently we can step in and help you, even if they have started the Taking Control of Goods process and have made a list of your assets and say they will return and seize them. Quite often Taking Control of Goods Notices are issued incorrectly and we have a 100% record of getting Taking Control of Goods notices abandoned and cancelled if we challenge it. Once that is done we can then discuss what your options are with regards to dealing with the arrears you have and we will take over negotiations with HMRC whilst you carry on running your business.
For a free no obligation chat to discuss how we can help please call us now (24/7) on 0800 980 2662 or 0161 825 8094. We cover the whole of the UK.