Tag Archives: hmrc

Deluded friend

Hi all

Again been busy with work and travelling, this time Poland.  I admit I went with trepidation as I expected the worst but what a lovely city Warsaw is.  It was nice to relax for a few days.   The blog does get left a bit nowadays but things should settle soon enough, work has been ultra busy but that is always good.

So, I have managed some gym sessions recently and saw a friend I haven’t seen for a long time.  Nice guy but makes bad decisions, I mean my history isn’t amazing but this guy takes the biscuit.  Years ago we were working on the same sorting aisle at the Royal Mail, on my final week he was fired!   Fired for theft actually, for stealing money from cards.   When you heard why, you had to wonder how someone can let themselves be so controlled that they need extra money.  So why did he do it?  Well he met a girl who dreamed of champagne lifestyle yet he was on a fish and chip budget.  He went and promised her the world and had to steal to fund it, silly silly boy.  Inevitably, when the money stopped, she left him.  Sounds a bit like my ex actually!

So, back to the gym.  I saw him and had a good catch up and quite by chance we got onto finances where I explained what a nightmare I had had (without the finer details obviously) with the HMRC.  His eyes widened as he listened to how I managed to finally get out of it and then he butted it with “The HMRC are after me”.

Oh my poor boy, pray tell why?  So, he was self-employed for a while and then gave it up but didn’t factor in he would still have to pay tax.  He owes £15,000, which compared to what I owed them didn’t faze me at all.   He explained how he had ignored every letter and it didn’t matter as they all went to his parents address and he didn’t live there.

I tried to give him the words of wisdom needed, wisdom gained from personal experience as you all know.  They will find you I said, they will turn up at your parents address and so forth.   I felt sorry for him until I asked him if he had anything to sell, his reply was this:

“Nope, only my brand new Jag”.

Pardon me?   the brand new top of the range Jaguar sports car you are driving?   I asked why he didn’t sell the 40 grand car, pay off the HMRC and still then have enough for a top of the range car.  Sadly his reply is unprintable but along the lines of why should he.

You see, this is my big issue, why was I persecuted to the point of breakdown when I was actually making payments and had paid back an obscene amount of money yet this guy is giving them the middle finger and living the high life.  My issue is that the HMRC fails to treat everyone the same, I was once told they will target you more if they feel you have the money.  That is why they were on my case every single week.

My own ethics don’t allow me to tip them off, but I would love to.  I lost respect for him then and there, I struggled for years.

But, the poor deluded fool truly believes it will be this way forever.  It won’t…they will find you and they will take your car.

You cannot hide forever.

HMRC are a total disgrace

Unbelievable, despite me filing for Insolvency 6 weeks ago the HMRC continue to harass me.  Not only harassing me but now at an increased rate.  Again, floods of those brown envelopes demanding immediate payment of corporation tax, then 3 phone calls in 1 hour.  I am not supposed to talk to them but I didn’t recognise the number.

10 minute heated argument with another unbelievable rude woman at the HMRC.  Here are the summary points:

1) Our department is not aware of the Insolvency – absolute and utter crap, they have had all the notifications and didn’t bother turning up at the creditor meeting.

2) You pay £18,000 by 8pm tomorrow or we begin legal proceedings – Good, do that.  Your solicitor will check Companies House and see the company is insolvent, thus proving my point

3) You MUST provide us with court reference numbers – no I don’t actually, the HMRC already has all of that, hence the creditor report.  “That department has not informed us so we want the numbers right now” – NO, talk within yourselves.

4) We will send debt collectors – Try it, you are breaking the law.

5) Sir, you are avoiding paying us by lying – Pardon me?  you have had no less than 15 letters, 3 invites and 2 meetings on the Insolvency.  The HMRC have already signed the forms and returned them.  “That isn’t our department”

now me…”You are not permitted to contact me, you must only deal direct with my Insolvency firm”. – rejected by the woman, we can only deal with you now are you paying us or not? – NO P1SS OFF.

** hung up **

What an utterly disgraceful call, just like I have said multiple times before.  They are utter bullies, rude, insensitive and totally unable to communicate within their own company.  You are constantly spoken to like utter garbage and made to feel like the lowest of the low.  How dare they?

I hate them, I hate them with an utter passion.   Everyone I have ever spoken to is vile.

This wil totally kick off in court very soon because if they continue to violate this agreement I will be taking them to court for prolonged harassment.

What a day eh?

All done – Insolvent

Well, the meeting happened today and it’s official – My company is insolvent.   Loads of forms for me to sign but importantly none of my creditors turned up to the meeting, which made it really easy.

There were 4 creditors due, my bank, my accountant and the HMRC (2 debts) and none were interested in attending.  Although that is good news, it kind of shows how you are viewed.  The debt of £24,000 is massive to me but apparently not worth anybody else’s time!

What happens now is that all the forms and reports are sent to the creditors and Companies House, and I will appear in the paper next Thursday.  Coincidentally, I am in London next Thursday so may buy the financial paper out of morbid curiosity.   It is sad though, I worked very hard to set myself up but in the end, the HMRC and family related issues meant I could never carry it on.  Once you find yourself in trouble, you rarely get out of it.

With regards to the timelines, everything will be completed by 31st January 2015.  Any of the Creditors, before that time, can challenge anything they like but as my company has a total asset listing of NIL, the Insolvency Practitioner and I find it unlikely we will see that challenge as it is a waste of time.

I don’t feel great about it at all though, a lot of you will think I should be relieved but not really.   It’s still a form of giving up in my eyes but life teaches you that you cannot fix every situation.  Sometimes you have to stand up and say “I’ve done all I can, help?” and this is what happened here.

For anyone going through this, or planning on Insolvency, this is what it means to me personally.   The Insolvency goes against my company and not me personally, meaning I do need to declare it.   The Insolvency does not touch personal possessions so I won’t lose my home.  Finally, it stops brown envelopes.  The flood of them with the associated threats.

For that peace of mind, the decision has been the correct one.

It’s done. I manned up.

Hi all

I know you have been waiting to see whether I phoned my parents, and I did.  It took me a while to build up to it but I did it.  It went how I thought it would, the words I expected to see of how proud they are, and want to help.  However, and I knew it wouldn’t, it didn’t stop the shame.   I cannot stop that feeling, just complete humiliation.

I expected my life to be so so different, but it isn’t.  I keep thinking of all the things that went wrong, and what led to this.  But, is this life, you are dealt what you are dealt.  It is just a shame that most of my cards have been rubbish.

Back to this though, my parents will loan me the money.   This means I can go down the insolvency route and stop the HMRC coming at me.   So why do I not feel any relief?  It is hard to explain, very hard actually, that even small victories mean nothing until I pay things off.   I realise my parents will never pressure me, and indeed have stated there is no rush at all to pay it off, but I am just not looking forward to going round.

It may sound irrational, but I just feel if you owe people money you cannot do anything that appears affluent.  For example, a holiday as it looks (to me) like you are using money you could have used to pay people back.  Even if people may not see it that way, but I do.

My point is, I am still trapped.  Not trapped in a situation whereby my house and possessions could be taken away, but by the knowledge that I am not free to live a ‘normal’ life.  It means that that even if on certain paydays I may find myself to be lucky enough to have an extra couple of hundred pounds, I cannot use it for a treat.

In essence, my life remains on hold.  Just with less people chasing me.

HMRC just won’t let it lie

Long day today, stuck in traffic and it took a while to get home.  When I did, checked my mail and there it was – a brown envelope.  Avid readers will know I hate them, it takes me ages to open it as it creates fear and brings me out in a sweat.  They are never nice and they are always from the HMRC, so I knew this wouldn’t be good.

What a shock (sarcasm), they have totally ignored the letter from my Insolvency Practitioner and sent me a demand for Corporation Tax, £14663 payable immediately.  We expected this to happen, purely because they know they have threated me before and I have somehow raised the funds to pay them off.  Not this time, I have sent the letter over to my IP for them to deal with.  This was the point of going through business insolvency, to stop this.  One week after the declaration and the HMRC ignore it.

I cannot think of one good word to say the HMRC.  They are like a dog with a bone, they bully and harass you until you break and care not for your personal stories or strife.   They want the money you owe, the money they added on, and the money they will add on when you can’t pay after a month.   It stops now.

Before I started this blog, I read a lot of forums about to stop these threats and the amount of pages of broken souls desperate for some sort of a solution to stop the letters, phone calls and visits.   I felt for all of them, I was lucky that I could pay off such massive amount of money but it did me no favours.

The best advice I have been given is not to pay.  If you are in trouble, do not pay.  Most of us want to pay, including me, as it is the right thing to do.  However if that debt target continues to move then you are never going to catch up.  I thought I was doing the morally right thing but no.  I should have said years ago I couldn’t pay and stopped it there and then.

There are times in your life when right is actually wrong, and this is one of them.

At least I can pass this letter on, legally they cannot threaten me any more.   On a positive note, I found 21p today!  I continue to find small coinage.  Every little helps!

Results of my meeting

Firstly, thank you to all the readers who have sent me messages of support and indeed asking me how the meeting went.  So, here is the summary.

Not sure why I was feeling nervous, possibly as the meeting was in a building that I had worked at 3 times so there was some fear I may see someone I know.  I had all my letters and evidence in a folder and felt prepared but why the nervousness?  In reality, I should have been excited but the wait in the reception room made it worse.  I also wondered if the 2 receptionists looked at me and knew I was another person who couldn’t pay their bills, another loser if you will.  But, I digress….

The meeting was an 85% success.  I cannot include ALL the tax debt, but most of it.  So, basically I can apply for Insolvency and in effect not pay £20,000 in tax debt.  I would need to pay the other £5000 as it counts as ‘personal tax liability’, but I can tackle that better than tackling £25,000.  The cost of the procedure is £4500 as well, which I need to pay up front but that may have been sorted if I can swallow my pride.

The explanation was really clear, my limited company will be wound up and not myself personally and the insolvency is only advertised (is advertised an appropriate word?  shamed would be better!) in the London papers.  I don’t live in London so that is not a problem.  I also received the clarification that it will not affect my job and I did not need to disclose it either.

Moving on to the plan.

I have to provide a mountain of information, all readily available from my accountant.  Interestingly, you need 2 creditors to apply for insolvency.  One is the HMRC, the other will be my accountant as I will no longer be allowed to pay them as the business bank account will be suspended.   I also need to provide a timeline of went wrong, but keep to the facts and resist the urge to state how the HMRC have made my life a living hell.  Some other documents and ID as well are needed, but all manageable.

I also have to type up a board meeting, with minutes, whereby the shareholders agree to wind up the company.  This is purely admin as I am the only shareholder/director so it just for show.

The person I met was extremely helpful, I think she could see how broken I was.  I am not putting this in here to give you all an image and to feel sorry for me either, this really has been a nightmare for me and I have a lost of lot because of it.  Both on a personal and health level.

The summary is that next Thursday I have my follow up meeting, pay the money, sign lots of things and it is taken out of my hands and into the Insolvency Act.   The whole thing takes 3-6 months but in that time the HMRC cannot contact me, cannot fine me and cannot charge interest.  I have handed over all my letters, that was a relief.  I have been hiding them away so I didn’t have to see them.  After that meeting, everything is in motion.

I was surprised how many meeting the team have, but for bigger companies than me.  Would you like to know the main reason these companies have had to ask for advise or apply for liquidation and/or bankruptcy?  HMRC FINES!!!   Oh how I understood, it is largely what made me unable to pay everything off.  I never imagined actual trading companies were in the same boat as someone like me.  Strangely it made me feel better, less like I was being singled out.

I feel a little better, but until I get the official letters I will remain guarded.  The fact is though, I should have done this ages ago.

Tomorrow is a very important day

Tomorrow I have a big meeting, yes another one.  However, this is life changing.

I have been speaking to an Insolvency Practitioner about keeping my tax debt separate from other debts, it transpires that I can do that as the company has no assets and I was the only employee.  I closed the company down in July, but the HMRC has kept it in their records as a trading company!. The company is unable to pay it’s debts, this it is insolvent.

Still with me?   good…

What works in my favour is the clear evidence I have made every single effort possible to pay back everything, which has been a huge amount of money.  I also pumped in £18,000 of my own money back into the company which left me unable to meet other demands.  It shows I have tried everything.

If I can achieve it, the insolvency will only go against my name as a company director and not myself personally.  But, it’s not cheap.

To set this up will cost £4000.  Wow you might say, but remember the outstanding debt is £25,000 so if you look at the 2 figures it is a small price to pay to finally stop this nightmare.   There will be some that now think, well hang on that isn’t fair so let me qualify it.

Remember, a quarter of the total money owed to HMRC is fines and interest.  The actual bills were paid, not on time I know, but paid.  The figures grew which were more of a struggle to keep up.  The more I missed, the more I got fined, the bigger the total was each month and so on.   And, from reading my posts, you will see I have been on my knees but still paid as much as I ever could.  But, I can’t pay what I do not have.

Additionally, I am not including my own personal debt.  I am totally committed to paying it off, and I will do.

Appointing an Insolvency Practitioner means they deal with the HMRC directly now too, so they can’t flood me with threats every single week.   I had to look at what this was doing to me, the dread of the unknown number on my phone, the constant fear of hearing the mail being delivered.  It is not healthy to be constantly worrying, and to be harassed to the point of no return.  I would rather be banned from being a company director for 5 years and walk away with the knowledge I paid back nearly £100,000 before I could do no more.  I think you will agree the effort has been there.

What I hope is the financial evidence review goes well, and that I am allowed to be separate the insolvency.  If it doesn’t, I am utterly doomed.

So fingers crossed please my beloved readers and followers.  I will update you all tomorrow night.

Lessons I have learnt about debt

When you are desperate to clear your debts, you look into as many options as you can.  And, those options have been repeated by well being comments via this site.   They are all top tips and good advice, however this is what I have found out.

There are many ways to help with debt and financial difficulty, some work, some don’t and some are not applicable sadly.   What I have found out is that is depends on your debt and current situation. The factors that affect how you can get help are your job, the money you earn, who you owe money to and your health.

There are only 2 easy ways out of clearing your debt, and I use the word easy as your debt will be wiped out BUT your life as a future creditor is over.  They are, of course, Bankruptcy and Insolvency.   These 2 options come with drastic consequences but depending on your life situation, it may be a great move for you.  For instance, if you were single with no kids and could start again, is losing your home to clear your debts a bad thing?  Compare that with a family faced with the same option, and the single person can look positively at it.   Insolvency is similar, but costs a fair bit of money to set up.  It is unlikely you will have a spare thousand or 3 to set it up but you CAN include tax debt and it is unlikely you will lose your home.

Tax debt, we have mentioned it so many times, but any money you owe to the Government cannot be included in any conventional debt relief schemes and loans.   I am stating this fact again so that you understand why I could not take up some of the options.

Loans – so many loans available, but in 2 categories.  Unsecured and Secured.   Unsecured is not an option for anyone with bad credit.  It is a NO immediately.  So, secured loans are an option.  The drawback is obvious, you are moving all your debt into a loan directly against your home.  The interest rates are quite high too.  For example, I looked at a £25,000 secured loan and the amount to pay back was a hefty £33,000.  Additionally, you can only borrow an amount that is comparitable with your equity.  So if you have 10K equity, you can only borrow 10K.

Bad credit equals no new credit cards, so no consolidating balances onto different credit cards with lower interest rates.

Bank loans, again if you are honest you will lose.  Sadly, I was too honest for my own good.  Mention tax debt and it is goodbye sir, good luck.  Quite why HMRC debts are ringfenced are beyond me.  Same with mortgage payment holidays or partial payments, mention what it is for and it is a NO.

Debt Charities, wonderful for advice but really geared for smaller debt problems and often solved by re-budgeting or making key changes in your lifestyle.  They do a wonderful job helping people but again, I would say this is for ‘normal debt’.

So what does work?

Well, for me, it looks like Insolvency.  However, there is only one other thing that has helped me, and that was the use of a reputable debt consolidation/management company.  I did my own research, found a good one that I will happily recommend them should anyone ask.  It was the only option whereby I could include most of my debts and debtors and have them all move into a monthly lower payment.  The company got my interest frozen for 12 months and a decent payment plan which meant, importantly, that I was still decreasing the balances.  The cynical will state you pay a fee each month, and you are absolutely right to say that.  I pay £30 month fee, now if you compare that to the combined interest of all the bills which was £136/month then it was worth it.  The extra money left allowed me to pay back 2 other loans.

To summarise, research all options and don’t go with the popular choices.  Not all of them are a fit for individual circumstances, most importantly don’t ‘panic sign up’ to things.  Honestly, if you have a tax debt like me then don’t waste your time on standard solutions, as it cannot be included.

It is a world geared towards the wealthy, if you are down and out you have to fight like mad to recover from it or get really lucky.  That is how I have found it to be.

Utterly exhausted

Well, it happened, I collapsed.  Not literally in the street, but when I got home.  I think my mind and body had had enough and decided it was time to take a break.

As you all know, the worry of debt and trying to run a house/looking after my children whilst doing my job has been hard.  Made even harder recently by the constant demands from my debtors.  I do not sleep very well, I rarely do in fact.  I wake far too early and cannot sleep, something I have to resolve one way or another.

Yesterday though, I had to drive over 500 miles in a day for work.  Did it but 100 miles from home I knew I was in trouble, my head was thumping and my eyes hurt.  Stopped for a while but couldn’t wait to get home, which seemed to take an eternity.  The additional hazard of torrential rain didn’t help either as I was forced to concentrate even more.

Finally got home as darkness was setting in, quite literally stumbled through the door.  I think my dog knew I was in trouble as he came straight up to me and nudged me.  It was evident a migraine was coming, only my second ever one.  I could barely stand up.

Made a decision to go upstairs for a lay down, didn’t even bother to get undressed.  The dog followed me, turned the lights out and lay down.  Woke up at 2am!!!  I had laid down at 7.30pm…what the hell happened?  My suit was creased to hell, and the dog was licking my head.  My body was aching and I was utterly exhausted.

I think there comes a point where all the front, effort, and upset takes its toll.  I am glad it happened when I was in on my own too.  Clearly it shows that you need to take time out from everything and relax.  It also demonstrates how constant hounding from people (hmrc) can push you to this brink of shut down.

It’s also very evident that if you are on your own, as in not in a full-time relationship, nobody looks out for you.   I’ve taken it as a wake up call, I need to find a way to recharge although I fear I will never truly relax until my debt is clear.

as my life struggles, a new one arrives

Through my recent few days of pure unhappiness, caused by the constant rejection from loan options, a rare glint of sunshine through the clouds.  I have another nephew!

It made me think, I am now meant to be a positive influence on yet another child.  That’s my children and my nieces and nephews, they look to me as the fun uncle.  And mostly I am.

Children have absolutely no clue what some adults are going through, and I truly think that is best.  I have learnt in the last few years that no matter how dreadful your day, you always greet you children with a smile and hug.  As long as they think everything is ok, then they feel safe.  I also think it’s an adult’s role to shield children from real life traumas, which is what I have done.

I googled HMRC harassment, so many stories of people who were driven to a nervous breakdown by it.  I am determined not to go down that route, I’m too strong for that and too proud a father.  But, everyone handles situations differently.  Personally, I go quiet and step away from my friends for a few days and try hard to regain my perspective.

This time, a baby boy is that perspective.   Just got to raise the funds to get my brother and sister and law a gift!