Tax debts getting heavy

HM Revenue & Customs is going to use professional debt collectors to rake in £1.5 billion of unpaid taxes. The deal is thought to be worth up to £70 million for the debt collecting firms, reports the Daily Mail.  The private debt collectors can phone debtors, send letters and send the bailiffs in.

The taxman ran a pilot scheme last year targeting taxpayers owing more than £10,000 through self-assessment, or who had unpaid PAYE up to £500, and had National Insurance bills of up to £700.  HMRC’s own report from a pilot scheme doesn’t inspire confidence. It noted that ‘there were some operating practices used by debt collectors that were not considered appropriate …’
A spokesman for HMRC said: ‘using debt collectors allows our own staff to focus on higher risk and more complex debts.  Anyone thinking they can safely sit things out and get away with not paying what they owe… would be making a serious mistake.’

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