As lockdown measures have relaxed, Kroll reports that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has restarted debt collection activities with customers. It will initially focus on activities relating to collecting debts from customers who are least affected by COVID-19, those who are most able to pay their tax debts, taxpayers who have not responded to any correspondence or have not contacted HMRC to manage their account and arrears. .
According to the London Gazette, there has been a negligible number of winding-up petitions lodged by HMRC this year, going back to March 2020. Therefore, it seems likely that once HMRC is free to start issuing winding-up petitions again, the numbers could rise sharply. HMRC is likely to be under some pressure to collect revenue for what is a much-depleted Exchequer. However, in light of the pandemic, enforcement of debt remains a political decision and could lead to further forbearance in certain instances.
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