Debt could be secured against owners’ homes

CONSUMERS and the self-employed with outstanding tax bills may soon be forced to have their debt secured against their home if it is not repaid on time, according to a Yorkshire-based insolvency expert.

According to Sheffield-based Phil Meekin, of insolvency and business recovery specialist Wilson Field, the Budget included a statement which permitted HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to take a tougher stance on unpaid tax.

Chancellor George Osborne introduced a number of measures designed to clamp down on tax avoidance.

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Mr Meekin said: “When a debtor – such as somebody who has an unpaid tax bill – is not able to pay, HMRC may apply for a County Court Judgement (CCJ).

“The issue of a CCJ confirms the validity of the debt and, if it remains unpaid, opens a variety of enforcement actions to enable a creditor to try to recover the debt.

“An option available is a Charging Order.

“This means if the debtor fails to stick to the terms of the CCJ, the creditor can apply to secure the debt against the debtor’s home. This is similar in nature to adding an extra mortgage to the property.

“Under a Charging Order, any outstanding debt is repaid when the house is eventually sold.”