HomeSMEs, directors & shareholdersTax disputesHMRC Winding up petitions and statutory demands

In recent months HMRC have committed significant resource to recover unpaid taxes and ramped up their full range of enforcement options these include taking legal action such as statutory demands, seizing assets, and issuing winding up petitions. Our team can help.

Our specialist team is here to help

No other firm in England has such a unique skill set as our tax team.

  • The team is headed up by litigation and tax Partner Stephen Downie. Stephen is also a qualified accountant and also spent time working at the Insolvency Service.  He is an expert in tax related matters and dealing with company winding up petitions and statutory demands
  • Partner Andy Lynch spent 18 years at HMRC working for their special tax investigations team before joining FWJ. He is highly familiar with the way HMRC operate and regularly deals with their senior team when resolving client issues.
  • Partner Sue Brumby has extensive experience dealing with disputed HMRC statutory demands often getting them dismissed or negotiated downwards.
  • Associate Pembe Ramadan who spent 6 years at HMRC as an in house litigator. Pembe is a qualified Civil and Commercial Mediator and has attended over 60 First Tier Tax Tribunals during her career.

Acting quickly is always the key

Should you have a tax debt it is important to engage with HMRC at an early stage as ignoring the issue and will quite often will land you in the Insolvency courts, our team here at FWJ are highly experienced in assisting companies and individual tax payers navigate their way out of such problems – whether they are statutory demand or winding up petitions.

Statutory demands – how can we help

If you have been served with a statutory demand, we can help in the following ways

  • Establish the validity of the debt claimed – quite often, HMRC can be wrong in its calculations;
  • Enter into negotiations for repayment of the agreed debt and try and obtain a Time to Pay Agreement if possible;
  • If the debt is disputed, try and get HMRC to withdraw the statutory demand – and if they refuse, make an application to set aside the statutory demand (for an individual) or apply to court for an injunction (for a company) to stop a winding up order being issued
  • If you are unable to pay the debt (either at all or straight away), explore other options which might be available for you – eg an IVA for an individual or a CVA for a company.

The key is early engagement with HMRC to avoid the statutory demand moving on to the next stage – which will either be a bankruptcy petition or a winding up petition.  Our team are experts at finding solutions for every set of circumstances.


Winding up petitions – how we can help

If your company has been served with a winding up petition, we can help in the following ways

  • establish whether the debt is genuinely due and properly calculated. HMRC can be wrong in its calculations;
  • enter into negotiations for repayment of any admitted debt – and try and obtain a Time to Pay Agreement if possible;
  • if the debt is disputed, we can ask for the winding up petition to be withdrawn, and if this is not successful, formally oppose the petition and have the case heard at a full court hearing.
  • we can also obtain a court injunction to prevent HMRC from advertising the winding up petition in the London Gazette if they are threatening to do so. This can be hugely important for a company – as advertisement of a petition can often lead to banks freezing the company account and suppliers refusing to trade.
  • we can help get a company bank account unfrozen.  Often a bank will freeze the account entirely if it becomes aware of a winding up petition. There are steps we can take to get this unfrozen.
  • we can apply to court for a validation order – which is a type of court order which permits payments to be made from the company account despite the existence of the winding up petition. For example, business critical payments such as wages or to suppliers.  By applying to court for validation of these payments, it removes a lot of personal risk to the directors should the company later be wound up.
  • we can put you in touch with reputable restructuring professionals – who might be able to restructure your business and help it turnaround.
  • we can advise you on whether there are any alternatives to the winding up procedure which might prove to be a better outcome – eg an Administration pre pack is often an alternative which can help save the key parts of the business moving forwards Or a CVA.
  • we can advise on how to minimise the risk of personal claims against the directors once the petition has been issued – for example, if the company does later go in to liquidation, there is a risk of director disqualification, compensation orders and personal money claims by liquidators.


Phone us today – free consultation.

If you are affected by of the circumstances outlined above, one of our team will gladly talk you through your options and help you find a solution. Speak to one of our experts – Andy Lynch or Sue Brumby and they will happily help you today.

Andy Lynch at FWJ was literally a life saver for me. I ran in to some tax issues with HMRC and I suffer from mental health issues as well so I was a complex case. Andy took his time to professionally and accurately layout my case and assist me with finding a resolution. I researched a lot of tax advisers before making my decision and I am glad I did and relieved that I chose Andy and FWJ.

Chris Kitchen

FWJ did precisely what it set out to do. I am extremely grateful for its assistance.

A client who had received a Request for Security from HMRC for a sum that would have caused their company severe financial difficulties. We helped them to have the entire bill withdrawn

Key contacts

Pembe Ramadan

Pembe Ramadan


Andy Lynch

Andy Lynch


Stephen Downie

Stephen Downie


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