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Published on 5 October 2020

Call for evidence: fairness in government debt management

This call for evidence, issued by the Cabinet Office, provided an opportunity for LITRG to highlight how HMRC deals with debt (including tax credit debt) and to offer some suggestions for improvement, and to also call for consistency when dealing with debt across all government departments.

Illustration of the word debt and a ladder
(c) Shutterstock / Lightspring

The response stresses the need to be sure that the debt is accurate and correctly due before taking collection or enforcement action, and illustrates with various case studies how this is often not the case when HMRC pursue debts.

Other areas discussed in our response include:

  • a call to publish a formal code of practice to ensure consistency across government departments;
  • use of a standard affordability calculator when considering affordable repayments for all government debts
  • easy access to information about debts for voluntary sector advisers such as the tax charities, welfare rights advisers and money advisers so they can advocate effectively on behalf of debtors
  • making better use of a self serve option to arrange ‘time to pay’ agreements, such as an online tool.

The call for evidence is here.

The LITRG response is here.

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