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What to do when HMRC visits unannounced

We’ll all be preparing for Santa Claus to visit us next month (and preparing for the additional strain on our bank accounts!) But what you may not be prepared for is a visit from the bailiffs at HMRC…

Since HMRC’s more gentle approach towards debt collection during the last 18 months comes to an end, Accountants across the UK have noticed more Business Owners have received unannounced visits from HMRC’s bailiff team. So of course our team at Hubu Accountants wanted to spring into action to ensure our clients had the information they needed to ensure peace of mind; especially in the run up to Christmas.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (or ICAEW) is in talks with HMRC to find ways of improving communication between the self assessment processing department and the debt management teams. This improvement in communication between departments should mean that there are less incidents of debt collection teams making unannounced visits - especially where no tax is even due - and yes, this has happened! This sometimes occurs when Tax returns are not processed in time due to issues with HMRC software; however the resulting visit of the HMRC field force arriving at the door can be intimidating - not to mention embarrassing. So, if you do receive a visit, just remember your rights:

Do Not Let Them In!

You are not legally obliged to let HMRC enter your property. Do not let HMRC enter your house or business premises! Instead, 1) ask them for identification, and 2) ask them for the letter from HMRC’s debt management department, which will show the reasons for the visit (if you’re not already aware). If by chance they have managed to gain entry, don’t fear - you have every right to *politely* ask them to leave, without giving them any information, documents or indeed any payment.

Call Your Accountant!

If you have received an unwanted visit, Hubu Accountants advises that you call your Accountant straight away. As well as our usual accounting services, another service that Hubu Accountants can be relied upon for is to liaise with HMRC to resolve situations on our clients’ behalf.

Get The Manager!

If you are a business that has a customer compliance manager (CCM) at HMRC, put in a call to them and ask them to ensure they have updated your information on the HMRC system. Unfortunately, this isn’t a solution if you don’t have a CCM, but remember you can still do points 1 and 2!!

However, despite the above advice we must point out that if you are subject to action under criminal law, please get yourself legal representation from a criminal lawyer immediately, as different procedures apply in these circumstances.

For future advice and tips on Accounting for you and your business, remember to keep an eye on our regular blog to stay informed and ahead of the game, or give our accounting software specialists a call on 0800 206 2625 to see how we can help.


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