With HMRC looking for more and more ways to recoup unpaid tax, they have been increasingly using winding-up petitions to get the cash.

The number of businesses to receive them hit 4,147 over the last year, while only 3,733 got them in the year before that. That’s an 11% rise overall.

The use of these petitions is an extreme method that can lead to a company being sold and having its assets liquidated. The rise in their occurrence shows HMRC are willing to be as strict as possible when it comes to money owed.

Peter Alderson is the Managing Director of LDF, a finance provider, who has said why this proves HMRC are willing to go even further than before:

“HMRC is still under huge pressure to get all their tax receipts in and wants to be seen to be taking a tough stance against those who don’t pay up on time. This jump in winding-up petitions in the last year shows that it is now prepared to go to much greater lengths than previously in order to recover unpaid tax.

“Despite having other heavyweight tools at its disposal, such as the power of distraint which allows it to seize a debtor’s assets, HMRC appears to be taking an increasingly aggressive stance.”

This news comes as Royal Assent has been given to proposals to give HMRC new powers to seize money from people’s bank accounts prior to a court decision on the dispute.

Image by Dick Penn.