The data from accountants Wilkins Kennedy reveals that in the 2011-12 tax year HMRC sought to wind up 5,302 companies due to late tax payments, 57% more than in the previous year.
HMRC also seems to be making more use of its ‘distraint’ tactics, where goods are seized from companies who owe tax. The data shows that HMRC used this aggressive tactic on 10,577 businesses in the last tax year, up from 5,520 in 2010-2911.
Anthony Cork, partner at Wilkins Kennedy, warns that it’s not worth dodging the taxman, especially for small businesses struggling with money. He explains: “When businesses run into trouble, often one of the first things they do is try to delay tax payments to help manage their cashflow. This puts businesses on a collision course with HMRC.”
He goes on to advise: “Businesses need to be very careful about getting on the wrong side of HMRC. These figures show HMRC has become increasingly unwilling to compromise in its pursuit of missing taxes.”