Over £1 Billion Remains Outstanding Under the ‘Time to Pay’ Scheme

Approximately £1.02bn of taxpayer’s money is outstanding under the ‘time to pay’ scheme, of which about £650m is overdue from businesses.

HMRC have indicated that they will now no longer publish these figures.

HMRC’s have rejected over £23,000 ‘time to pay’ requests worth £1.08bn pounds according to the last set of figures that will be published in respect of the scheme.

The figures, published by HMRC’s Business Payment Support Service show that just over £444,000 ‘time to pay’ agreements have been made since November 2008 which were worth £7.71bn as HMRC effectively provided a lifeline of working capital in the aftermath of the banking crisis.

The scheme has been generally successful and £6.69bn of the £7.71bn has been repaid but refusals have steadily risen since 2009.

The figures show that 3% of applications refused in 2009, 6% in 2010 and 11.8% this year. There were 2970 refusals during the second quarter of 2011 compared with 2250 in the same period in 2010.

HMRC said repeat requests from businesses were more likely to be refused as it may indicate that a business is no longer viable.

The spokesman added ‘the majority of businesses that have entered into time to pay arrangements with us are fundamentally viable and are still in business, in no small part due to the practical support provided by our time to pay arrangements’.

The overall figures show a steady decline in the number and value of time to pay arrangements since their peak in January 2009.

There were 48,500 new agreements in the first half of this year worth £860m compared to 51,310 agreements worth £920m during the prior 6 months.

Tim Corfield comments that ‘I am concerned to learn that HMRC will no longer publish official statistics on these schemes. Clearly HMRC have helped many businesses. It seems to me that this information is in the public interest and should be available’.