Rules tightened on payment of large business tax debts

Firms that want to negotiate extra time to pay large tax bills under the business payment support service may have to provide HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) with more information.

The service gives businesses that are experiencing temporary difficulties paying their taxes the chance to reschedule their tax payments. The arrangements can cover PAYE, National Insurance, VAT or any other HMRC taxes.

However, as from April, businesses that are looking to defer tax payments of £1 million or more must provide an independent business review in support of their request, HMRC has confirmed.

Typically, a review will include information about a firm's current trading and financial position, its profit and cash flow projections, its business and financial strategies, its management systems and its funding and banking arrangements.

A spokesman for HMRC said: "In view of the amounts of tax involved, HMRC needs to ensure that decisions about large time to pay arrangements are supported by a comprehensive audit trail, to help guarantee better value for money and fairness for all taxpayers.

"We remain committed to supporting compliant, viable businesses through periods of temporary difficulty by providing time to pay arrangements under the BPSS."