Unpaid Taxes

HM Treasury written question – answered on 16th December 2014.

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Photo of Shabana Mahmood Shabana Mahmood Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to paragraph 1.5 of the HM Revenue and Customs' summary of responses to the consultation on Direct Recovery of Debts, what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of guaranteeing that every debtor will receive a face-to-face visit in (a) 2015-16, (b) 2016-17, (c) 2017-18, (d) 2018-19 and (e) 2019-20.

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

Direct Recovery of Debts (DRD) is expected to affect around 17,000 debtors each year.

HMRC has a well-established process for making face-to-face visits to debtors who do not pay what they owe. In 2013-14, HMRC’s Field Force agents made around 900,000 visits to debtors.

Some of those who will be considered for DRD would receive a visit from a Field Force officer in the course of normal debt enforcement. Once DRD begins operation, these visits will provide a further opportunity for HMRC to:

  • personally identify the taxpayer and confirm it is their debt

  • explain to debtors what they owe, why they are being pursued for payment, and discuss payment of the debt

  • discuss options to resolve the debt, including offering a Time to Pay arrangement to the debtor, where appropriate

  • identify debtors who are in a vulnerable position and offer them the support they need to settle their debts.

    HMRC anticipates that it will absorb the operational cost of DRD visits within its current funding envelope, £800,000 for the systems changes that will underpin the delivery of this measure.

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