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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 22400
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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I have a bankruptcy hearing against me and I want to adjourn

Customer Question

I have a bankruptcy hearing against me and I want to adjourn it. The petition has been served by HMRC
JA: What state are you in? And has anything been officially filed?
Customer: Yes, the hearing is set for tomorrow in London. HMRC previously agreed to one adjournment but are not willing to agree to another one. I spoke to HMRC this morning
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: no i haven't spoken to a lawyer yet
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: i would like to get an adjournment and then negotiate with HMRC to take a charge on my property and to accept payment by instalments
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 5 months ago.

Good morning. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today.

I need some more information from you please.

How much are you alleged to owe?

Why do you now want to now adjourn it at this very late stage?

Has HMRC actually told you they will not agree?

Do you have enough equity in the house to cover any charge?

What proposals have you made to repay? How much over how long?

How long have you owed this money for and what have you been paying in the interim?

As much background detail as possible would be really useful please. Thank you

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
HelloI need to adjourn to give me more time to raise the funds required.
Yes, HMRC have said they won't agree to a second adjournment.
Yes, i have enough equity in my house
I haven't entered into any negotiations regarding a repayment plan
Basically, my accountant has failed to send in my last 4 tax returns and I owe HMRC an estimated amount of £120,000. I think this is too much and my accountant is working on all the returns and will have these finished by next week.
Last week i sent a fax to the court asking for an adjournment and have also sent them an email (which they have acknowledged) this morning too.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 5 months ago.

Thank you.

Just a few more questions and then I will answer you.

When was the last adjournment and how long was it for?

What did the accountant do in the interim?

Why are all the figures not already to hand?

Has the accountant admitted his failing?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
The last adjournment was in april for 2 months
accountant has been working on the accounts
figures not finalised as he has a few questions and i have a meeting with him on Monday next week to discuss. Then he tells me all ready by Wednesday of next week
Expert:  Stuart J replied 5 months ago.

Thank you. You are going to need something from the accountant whereby he admits that this is all his fault.

The problem is that he’s had for years to produce the accounts, there will have been numerous warnings and threats before now, then there was the bankruptcy petition, then another 2 months and now he wants another week.

For all of those reasons, it’s not looking particularly good.

At this late stage, all you can do is go into court tomorrow and give it your best shot and offer the legal charge in the interim.

The court will not grant the legal charge usually unless HMRC agree and HMRC are notorious for not agreeing anything other than being paid the full amount and being paid the full amount now. They may agree to a repayment schedule but unlikely to agree anything where it’s going to be repaid over more than 24 months.

As soon as they brought something to your attention, presumably many months ago you should have started to pay them something. Indeed, you should have started to pay them something over the last two months.

From experience, the amount of tax that they will be claiming is probably twice what they are entitled to. The reason they do that and exaggerate the claim is to get the taxpayer really worried and to deal with it.

Nonetheless, it appears that you accept that you owe some tax even if not the full amount.

Even if you are made bankrupt there is nothing to still stop you disputing the amount of tax which is owed and of course based upon the facts you have given me, you do have a negligence claim against the accountant.

I think you have more chance of getting this adjournment if you have a letter from the accountant absolving you of blame and explaining exactly why this has taken 2 months. To be honest, unless it’s a really complicated matter, and with my judges hat on I cannot see that the accountant needs another seven days solid. He could drop everything and work on this now. That’s what you need to explain, why the accountant needs the extra time having had 2 months already plus the time before.

Meanwhile, you also need to have put in place in the last two months something which that you are indeed trying to raise the funds such as a mortgage application or suchlike.

Unfortunately, you are in the hands of the court and I think this could go either way.

I wish I could give you a magic answer to this but unfortunately there isn’t one.

Does that answer the question?

Can I answer any specific point arising from this?

Please do not forget to rate my answer service positively so that I get credit for my time today. You may get the impression the thread closes after rating but it does not, it remains open and we can still exchange emails if anything needs clarification.

Kind regards.

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