What to do if you’ve Received an HMRC Final Opportunity Letter?
The HMRC ‘final opportunity letter’, also known as a Notice of Enforcement, means that their patience has run out. These letters represent the tail end of HMRC’s attempts to communicate politely with you about the recovery of the money you owe. Final opportunity letters are, as the title suggests, the last chance to pay before HMRC move to ‘enforcing’ the recovery of the debt. The language and tone of these letters are strong, threatening and urgent because they are trying as hard as they can, to goad you into action. Whether or not you have the resources to pay the debt, the very worst thing you can do at this stage is to freeze like a rabbit in a headlight. You need to pick up the telephone and communicate with someone at HMRC, using the reference number on the final opportunity letter. If you would rather, please contact us as we are some of the experienced mediators with HMRC. If you do not respond to this letter, HMRC will proceed with enforcement.
Enforcement Means the Start of the Bailiff Process
Following the final opportunity letter, if you don’t pay:
(a) Your debt will be fielded out to a third-party debt collection agency (DCA) who will make contact with you, themselves. NB these DCA’s are paid per the amount they collect which gives them a strong incentive to put as much pressure on you as they are legally allowed to do.
(b) Depending on the severity or complexity of the situation, HMRC may use their in-house enforcement team to recover the debt. Following the letter, an HMRC officer will visit your premises and warn you that, unless you pay within seven days, they will be returning to seize assets via a Controlled Goods Agreement.
Check the Details of the Notice of Enforcement Letter Carefully
If you’ve received one of these letters, it is still possible to avert bailiff action. First, check the date and note that you have seven days’ notice not including the day the notices issued, the day of the visit, Sundays, bank holidays, Good Friday, or Christmas Day. The only exception to this will be if the bailiff has a specific court order allowing them to give you less notice. These rules must be followed so if there is any deviation from them; you can complain to HMRC and have the action put on hold while a new notice is issued.
The final opportunity letter will contain clear details about the amount outstanding, what it’s for, your unique reference number, and contact details of the HMRC enforcement office.
Contact us for a free, Confidential Telephone call
We understand that these situations can be extremely stressful. Please contact one of our team on 08000 746 757 for a fully confidential, free conversation about your particular situation. As some of the U.K.’s most experienced mediators with HMRC, we’re confident we can help.