Our top tips for dealing with HMRC - Should you sadly have too!
For many individuals & businesses, a change in circumstances can cause financial difficulties. Problems can occur because of challenges faced by the business, for instance a drop off in trade combined with a lack of working capital, all of which can cause cash-flow issues which need to be overcome in order for trade to continue.
Since the onset of the recession we’ve all had to look at our cash books & balances a lot closer and unfortunately in a lot of instances, money set aside for HMRC & tax liabilities has had to be used to keep individuals and businesses trading. This leaves HMRC chasing for late and overdue tax bills.
We all know dealing with HMRC can be a frustrating & time consuming activity.
We specialise in helping those that owe to HMRC. We’re set up to negotiate the ‘mine field’ that is HMRC specifically for our clients.
So we thought a few helpful tips might help!
“Our top 10 survival tips.”
1. Get comfy & be patient – getting through to the right person to begin with can be an issue. There are several general helplines that can be used to make initial contact. Our advice is to start there if you don’t have any specific contact information for the department handling your debt. The main Self-Assessment helpline is 0300 200 3311 / VAT 0300 200 3838
2. Consider approaching a local office (if there is still one!) – HMRC do not promote this line of contact but discussing issues face to face with them can be a lot easier than a generic ‘agent’ over the phone.
3. Always try and have all information to hand – We understand this can be difficult but if you owe HMRC you need to be able to explain what’s happened to you and your businesses and why you are talking to them now.
4. Be prepared to go through all your incomings and outgoings – make sure you have clear records of income and expenditure – HMRC can look to help with a Time to Pay arrangement, which is a monthly re-payment arrangement for tax. This can be subject to strict criteria that not everyone can afford to meet. .
5. Don’t be pushed into a decision over the phone that you are financially concerned about meeting – You do have time with HMRC to work things out – Just ensure you keep the lines of communication open.
6. Always document who you talk too & when (names & department numbers)
7. Keep copies of any documentation you send to HMRC & ensure you keep good records of anything received from them, concerning the situation you are discussing.
8. Ask for confirmation of everything in writing – Again, record keeping is key to surviving dealing with HMRC as queries can be passed through so many different departments.
9. Be prepared to have to repeat yourself and resend documentation over and over – Our advice is to always double check when you have someone on the other end of the phone, where any paperwork needs to go and who it needs addressing to.
10. Don’t get rattled – It can be frustrating trying to get someone just to ‘hear you’ – HMRC are there to help but getting aggravated will only cause them to stop listening. Take your time with the situation & try to keep calm!
If you continue to have issues with HMRC there are external organisations that can help & advice further, especially if you hit a ‘wall’ with them!