HomeSMEs, directors & shareholdersTax disputesPAYE and VAT security notices

If you are approached by HMRC to provide security for future taxes, our expert team can assist. Our team is led by accountant and lawyer Stephen Downie and Partner Andy Lynch, formerly 18 years working for the investigations team at HMRC. Don't settle for second best. Call us today.


In the majority of company insolvencies, HMRC are owed VAT and PAYE.

Where a director or individual has had previous business failures and HMRC were left unpaid, it might insist that security be given in any new business venture to reduce HMRC’s exposure to further bad debt should the new company fail. HMRC do this by issuing a notice of requirement (NOR).

Notice of requirement

HMRC may issue a notice of requirement for various reasons, including:

  • where a director or individual has had previous company failures with VAT or PAYE debt:
  • where a director or business has deliberately failed to pay VAT or PAYE:
  • where a director or individual has a history of not paying VAT or PAYE on time:
  • where a business is purchased via the pre-pack administration process:

A notice of requirement will be served on the company care of its directors, and it will state the fixed sum required to be paid as security for future VAT or PAYE obligations. The notice will also state how long HMRC wish to hold the deposit for.

In relation to VAT, this security is calculated on the basis of current estimated earnings and on the basis of the arrears due from the predecessor company, often meaning that the VAT Security required is very large and is often on the basis of a much higher level of trading by the predecessor company or business.

The VAT security is normally held for a minimum of between 12-24 months and, once HMRC considers there is no ongoing risk, will be returned.

Consequence of failure to comply with a notice of requirement

In the event you do not respond to the notice of requirement, and/or do not pay the VAT Security amount required, then HMRC may institute prosecution proceedings against the directors.

The prosecution may lead to a fine of £5,000 (under the tax legislation as of writing) for “each taxable supply” meaning that this could be for every VAT invoice issued. 

Options available to you

At all times we would recommend engagement with HMRC to discuss such issues as soon as possible and upon receipt of any warning letter received.  In some instances, an appeal can be lodged and this needs to be made within 30 days of receipt of the Notice of Requirement. We would encourage early advice to identify whether a valid challenge or appeal can be raised with HMRC.

Delay in responding is often a pre-curser to much more serious problems.

At Francis Wilks & Jones we have considerable experience of assisting directors and business owners with dealing with VAT or PAYE Notice of Requirements. Should you require any assistance, please contact our Tax Dispute team who can discuss such matters with you.

If your enquiry is urgent, contact Partners Andy Lynch or Stephen Downie today and they will be happy to speak to you.

“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

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Phoebe Pexton

Phoebe Pexton


Andy Lynch

Andy Lynch


Stephen Downie

Stephen Downie


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