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HMRC lending skews insolvency figures

Corporate insolvencies may have fallen as the taxman has become the lender of
last resort, according to the latest insolvency data.

Corporate insolvencies for Q1 2010 were 4,082, a 17.8% drop on the previous
year, however advisers are concerned that the taxman delaying calling in tax
debts could be behind the fall, claims Steve Clancy, partner at
MCR Tax Arrears

“The decline in the number of corporate insolvencies needs to be seen within
the context that over the past quarter the economy has been on pause because of
the uncertainty of the result of the UK general election. Furthermore many of
our banks are now in public ownership, and political imperatives may have
not to call in tax debts,” said Clancy.

HMRC’s debt owed by business increased by nearly £3bn to £27.7bn in
2008/2009, and it increased its bad debt provision to £11.2bn, “…and we have yet
to get an insight into the debt provisions being made for the current year”,
said Clancy.

“Increases (in insolvencies) could start as soon as the end of the year as,
despite the scheme still being available, we have seen HMRC tighten up on the
procedure considerably,” he added.

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