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If HMRC issues a distraint order, what can bailiffs take from my business?

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If HMRC issues a distraint order, what can bailiffs take from my business?

HM Revenue and Customs has been after us for tax payments for a while and we’ve recently been made aware that a bailiff paid us a visit whilst we were not in the building. It was during hours we are not usually open for business and now we are concerned that the bailiff could show up at any time and take some of our stock and tools.

What are our rights in this situation, and what can a bailiff do once they arrive at our place of business? Is there a limit to what they’re allowed to take? Is there anything we can do to stop them from seizing our property if HMRC issues a distraint order? What can bailiffs take from my business?


Answer

Once a distraint order has been issued, the bailiff is instructed to seize goods that will be equal to the value of the debt owed. Keep in mind that there is a list of items which they are not allowed to take and they cannot threaten or harass you in front of your customers. The best answer we can give at this point in time is to act before they get there!

Bear in mind that there is extra effort in distraint on the part of HMRC because those items will need to be sold at public auction. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs would much rather you pay what you owe and be done with it. Seek our assistance so that we can help you negotiate suitable arrangements to avoid distraint if at all possible.

With that being said, if HMRC issues a distraint order they are allowed to take such things as office equipment, furniture, cars, vans and stock. They may also take cash, cheques, or other monetary certificates. However, they cannot take possession of necessary tools of your trade unless there are no other goods of value which are distrainable. Any fixtures or fittings that are built into the building cannot be removed and taken and personal property of anyone other than the indebted party or parties (directors, owners, etc) cannot be seized. This includes items which are hired or on lease.

If you are in fear that HMRC are going to authorise bailiffs to serve a distraint order notice, contact us without delay. After a free consultation we can offer advice on how to go approach the issue with the taxman. Remember, they only want the money owed to them and if you can find a reasonable solution, they may be more than willing to accept your terms.


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