Government/private sector joint venture to tackle tax debt

Unpaid taxes are among the unrecovered debts to be targeted by a new joint venture set up and owned by the government and private sector operator TDX Group, an Equifax company, which has been established to provide a single point of access to a wide range of debt management and collection services for a number of government departments starting next year

The government says the new company, Integrated Debt Services Ltd, will use a range of ‘proven and effective’ debt management services to support debt recovery with a focus on increasing returns.

The service will launch initially early in 2015  with six customers - HMRC, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Home Office, Student Loans Company, the Legal Aid Agency and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). However, it will also actively offer services to the wider public sector with an ambition to grow its services.

The government’s unrecovered debts, which include unpaid taxes, fees, fines and loans, ineligible benefits or grants and unrecovered costs from court cases total some £22.6bn.

Currently, it collects more than £40bn but attempts to use private sector organisations to deliver additional debt collection capacity have previously proved controversial, with claims that some agencies have been heavy-handed in their dealings with the public. The latest initiative is designed to develop a strategic cross-government approach.

Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office said: ‘As part of our long term economic plan we are working to get a grip on tackling the billions of pounds of uncollected debt owed to government. Establishing this company is an innovative approach which will build a sustainable and world-class recovery service for the public sector, and intelligently tackling a complex problem.

Mark Sanders, managing director of TDX Group, said: ‘Our tried and tested approach uses data and analytics to build a fuller understanding of the individual in debt; we then apply the most appropriate and effective strategies using the best suppliers from the private sector.

'We believe this tailored approach is key to the delivery of a service which is effective and fair for all parties involved.’

Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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