What to do if you have received an Accelerated Payment Notice (APN)?

August 10, 2018 / Business Tips

What is an Accelerated Payment Notice?

If you are reading this article, you will probably be all too familiar with the term Accelerated Payment Notice (APN) – and dread hearing the phrase. This requirement from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to pay an amount of tax or National Insurance Contribution is a huge concern for many people at the moment.

HMRC has issued APNs to taxpayers who have been involved in tax avoidance schemes disclosed under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) rules, or counter-acted under the General Anti Abuse Rule (GAAR).

Since APNs were introduced in the Finance Act 2014, around 80,000 have been issued to individuals. HMRC is reported to have collected more than £4 billion through APNs.

If you are the subject of an APN then you will have received a letter from HMRC – or soon will.

Many people and companies entered into tax avoidance schemes in good faith. However, a number of these schemes have fallen foul of changes in legislation, including retrospective legislation. This now means that HMRC can claim the unpaid tax.

A lot of the APN recipients feel they are victims of poor advice they received from their financial advisors and/or Accountants. However, in our experience, the schemes contained terms and conditions (which were signed by the tax payer) which exonerate the advisors from any blame. So, the buck stops firmly with the tax payers themselves and it is for them to sort out the APN.

What should you do if have received an APN?

You do have the right to make representations against an APN, as well as the right to appeal – although reports say that HMRC upholds 90% of decisions.

If you are not going to query the APN, from the receipt of the notice you will have 90 days to pay the amount shown on it. While it can be paid instalments, it does all need to be paid by the due date.

{You should be aware that APNs are being issued on a scheme-by-scheme basis. So, if you were involved with several schemes, you may not get all your APNs at the same time.}

Failure to pay your APN (or APNs) by the due date could result in:

  • late payment penalties
  • surcharges becoming due
  • potential enforcement action being taken to recover the tax or NICs.

So, if you have the funds, the best thing to do is pay the amount on time.

If you don’t have the funds to pay your APN…

A lot of recipients of APNs do not have sufficient funds to be able to pay the amount in full within the 90 days. Many don’t have the funds at all; whilst others do have the funds but they are tied up – typically in the family home.

If you are in this predicament, you should seek professional advice now. As a firm of Licensed Insolvency Practitioners, we can help you work out the best solution for you.

If your company has an APN, and it can’t afford to pay it…

It is not just individuals who are receiving APNs, companies are too and there are different solutions for them.

For a company that can’t pay their APN, the best option is likely to be either a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) or Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) – depending on the circumstances of the particular situation.

Free advice to deal with your APN

This is a very worrying time for victims who have become embroiled in the issue of tax avoidance schemes and APNs – especially for those who haven’t sufficient funds to pay what is due.

If you cannot pay your APN within 90 days, we can help you.

Clarke Bell are Licensed Insolvency Practitioners, with more than 28 years’ experience in helping people and companies to deal with their cashflow problems.

If you think that you (or your company) won’t be able to pay your APNs within the 90 day deadline, give us a call now.

There are a range of options you can take.

Give John Bell (Clarke Bell’s senior partner) a call now on 0161 907 4044 to get your free, confidential advice on which is the best option for you.