HMRC have released figures which suggest that assistance awarded under the Time To Pay Scheme (also known as Business Payment Support Scheme) could be winding down. Back in April the cumulative figure owed by businesses was £1.15bn but this has now reduced to £1.01bn by the end of last month. Top twenty five accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy believe that this evidence proves that the scheme will inevitably cease, however the Chancellor stated in his Pre-Budget Report that businesses would continue to have access to this scheme over the longer term if required.
Director of Wilkins Kennedy, Anthony Cork, stated: “All the signs indicate that Time to Pay is being wound down. However, HMRC seems to be overlooking the fact that historically, businesses have needed as much support, if not more, as the economy goes into recovery. This recession is unlikely to be any different.”
He continued: “With the economy still shrinking in the Third Quarter of this year, Time to Pay facilities of less than three months may seem more like a stay of execution than a lifeboat. If a business is truly struggling and unable to secure funding from anyone other than HMRC then it is unlikely to see a meaningful improvement in its fortunes in just three months. However, HMRC is agreeing to allow less than 1% of businesses to defer their tax payments for a year or more and is failing to take into account the seriousness of the situation and the seasonality of many businesses.”