Businesses get more time to pay £350 million in tax

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced that some 20,000 businesses have so far made use of the Business Payment Support Service (BPSS), delaying payment of £350 million in tax.

The service, set up in the pre-Budget Report, allows businesses that are struggling to meet their tax obligations to defer payment of VAT, corporation tax, National Insurance, excise duty and income tax without facing penalty charges.

Instead businesses arrange payment timetables with which they can cope.

Businesses that call the BPSS helpline can, in most instances, expect a decision to be made on their cases within around ten minutes, HMRC has said.

Stephen Timms, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: “This is providing real help to business across the whole country. I am delighted that HMRC has been able to help more than 20,000 businesses so far. This new scheme is helping businesses to stay open and keep their staff in jobs.

“I urge any business facing financial difficulty in these challenging economic times to pick up the phone and speak to an HMRC adviser. A short phone call could save hard working businesses time and money.”

The Business Payment Support Line can be contacted on 0845 302 1435. The line is open Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 8.00pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8.00am to 4.00pm.

More information on the service is available at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/pbr2008/business-payment.htm