HMRC – Asset seizure in order to pay VAT bills

The amount of companies that have had assets seized rose significantly during 2008 and 2013 with £3,657 having assets seized compared to just 263 in 2008/9.

HMRC have used their powers of distraint to seize and sell goods or assets such as vehicles, machinery or IT equipment from business premises at public auction  in order to settle unpaid VAT bills.   HMRC guidance states that the process will start “as soon as possible” once it has written to companies concerned.

This method generated £92m for VAT in 2013, although it is understood, the actual value of assets sold is likely to dwarf this.  HMRC is only concerned in recovering the tax it is owed, not achieving best price.