With a deadline looming on January 31, south west businesses and individuals affected by the economic downturn must move fast to benefit from a unique opportunity to postpone their tax payments.
This is the warning from Andy Richens, technical tax director at Bishop Fleming, the South West accountancy firm with the widest spread of offices throughout the region.
“Recognising the impact of the current economic climate, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has set up a new payment support service, which enables business and individual taxpayers to postpone payments without penalty.
“That is a unique reversal of the normal formula, but most taxpayers seem unaware of this potential to set up a ‘time to pay’ arrangement to help sustain their cash during the credit-crunch,” said Richens.
He explains that the new payment support service is designed to help individuals, and businesses or any size, who are struggling to meet any of their taxes that may be due for payment.
“For individuals, this can be a particularly difficult time, with 31st January being the due-date for paying the balance of tax for 2007/08 and the first advance payment for 2008/09,” said Richens.
“While failure to pay within 28 days would normally trigger a 5% surcharge, HMRC is now offering any taxpayers experiencing difficulties to contact their helpline to agree a postponement. Unfortunately, taxpayers may not be aware of this new relief formula,” he added.
Staff at the HMRC helpline (0845-302-1435) can normally reach a decision within ten minutes, which could postpone tax-payment and avoid penalty charges. “But be ready with your tax reference, details of the tax payments due, and brief details of your income and outgoings,” Richens advises.