HMRC takes hard line on directors

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The Independent Online

A sharp increase in disqualification proceedings launched against company directors for failure to pay tax undermines HM Revenue & Customs' insistence that it is taking a more sympathetic approach to businesses facing cashflow problems, independent financing company Syscap has claimed.

There has been a 24 per cent increase in the number of directors facing disqualification proceedings for non-payment of company tax, according to Syscap. More than 800 company directors faced such actions over the year to end-March, up from around 650 a year earlier.

Though HMRC is now giving struggling firms more time to pay tax, Syscap said the figures suggest that HMRC is increasingly prepared to see individual directors taken to court. Syscap chief executive Philip White said the increase was "all the more shocking because the number of company insolvencies has declined sharply over the last year".

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