Taxman gives farming family more time to pay up

Farmers still waiting for their full Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) money can apply for flexible tax instalments to HMRC, relieving the pressure on cashflow.

Although HMRC had not flagged up its extended payments option, one farming family in Berkshire was offered penalty-free monthly payments after refusing to pay their income tax bill.

“We received a letter saying if we didn’t pay our income tax bill HMRC would pass it to an external debt collector,” said Elizabeth Brown from Priors Farm near Newbury.

“We wrote to our MP and then HMRC explaining that we’d been owed £40,000 by the government since December, and that until that bad debt was paid we were unable and unwilling to pay the tax due.”

See also: Five-year tax averaging could free up investment cash

HMRC contacted Mr and Mrs Brown, offering them penalty-free monthly payments until such time as the BPS was paid.

“It was never flagged up as an option until we contacted them,” said Mrs Brown.

“We only had a part-payment of the BPS because we contacted the Farming Community Network – it’s scandalous that you have to go through a charity to make the government pay what it owes.”

An HMRC spokesman said: “Anyone who anticipates payment problems should call us and we will do all we can to help, including offering time to pay.

“We have an outstanding track record for supporting those with genuine problems, providing practical assistance to distressed businesses through our time to pay arrangements.

“We also have budget payment plans where individuals and small businesses can make regular payments in advance of their final tax bill.”

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