HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) recently underwent a significant restructure so that all tax matters relating to insolvencies are handled in offices dependent upon the case type rather than the type of tax involved. For example, all bankruptcy matters are now being dealt with by the Insolvency Claims Handling Unit in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and all company administrations are being handled by the Enforcement & Insolvency Service out of Worthing.
This restructure is having a particular impact on solvent liquidations or members’ voluntary liquidations (“MVLs”) to give them their proper title. We understand that this is as a result of there being no proper handover plan or training provisions being put in place prior to the restructure. As a result, HMRC staff are under pressure and are having to more or less be “trained as they go” and this is resulting in delays in our dealings with them. We understand that HMRC are no longer giving out specific names or direct line telephone numbers to staff, meaning that we are having to be routed through the main switchboard, which makes chasing by telephone difficult.
As an MVL is a tax-efficient procedure to enable shareholders to extract their investment in a limited company, it is simply too risky to look to close our file in a matter whereby we are the appointed liquidators without obtaining the proper clearance from HMRC. Before the statutory final meetings can be held, we need to obtain final claims from HMRC (if there are any balances owed by the company), agree and pay any claims, and thereafter obtain positive clearance that all tax matters have been attended to and that we can seek to obtain our release from office.
In all of the MVLs that we are dealing with for our clients, we are keeping the pressure on HMRC to agree final claims and obtain closure clearance so that we can return the shareholders’ funds to them in a timely manner, in order that they can move on to their next venture and we are seeing success in this regard.
If you believe that you or someone you know might benefit from the advantageous method of wrapping up a company’s affairs via an MVL, please do not hesitate to contact any of our team – details can be found by clicking on ‘The Team’ above.