Although the Covid pandemic is not over, HMRC’s bailiff teams have recommenced debt collection visits again after temporarily pausing these.

Unfortunately, HMRC bailiffs (field force team) can visit even when there is no outstanding tax debt.   For example, if an amended return has been filed that reduces the tax due, but this hasn’t been processed by HMRC, even though the return has been acknowledged by HMRC as received.

Always keep an eye on the tax owing function of your online personal tax account or business tax account; there is no guarantee the bailiffs will review any notes on HMRC’s debt management system if you contact HMRC.

A bailiff visit is always alarming, and potentially damaging to the business reputation.   Should HMRC bailiffs turn up, you should take the following action:

  1. Don’t let the bailiffs on to the premises – they have no rights of entry under civil law.
  2. Ask them to leave if they have entered the property.
  3. Ask the bailiff to leave the letter from HMRC’s debt management department.
  4. Do not let bailiffs take away any business documents or information.
  5. Call us once all of the above is done.

If the bailiff’s visit is part of a dawn raid under criminal law, you should call a criminal lawyer immediately, as different rules and procedures apply.

As always, do not hesitate to contact us for help and advice.