Ace Travel North West Ltd, a bus firm based in Liverpool has entered liquidation as a result of a winding up order from HMRC, with the loss of 60 jobs
The company, founded 10 years ago, operated around 20 routes for the transport authority Merseytravel. At the weekend Ace Travel’s management announced it had fallen behind with payments to HMRC covering a period of around 18 months and believed to total £220,000.
The company said it had managed to raise investment of £114,000 towards paying the tax bill and, after taking professional advice, had put forward a payment plan that it said would have cleared the bill by the end of this year.
However, Ace Travel claimed the case was then transferred to a tax office in Worthing which rejected the previous agreement and demanded full payment. Following this decision, HMRC issued a winding-up order.
Speaking to local media, Ace Travel director Alan Denson said: ‘I can’t believe they have done this. We did fall behind with payments, fair enough, but we had a payment scheme in place and we would have paid it by the end of the year.
‘To have a settlement in place and the Revenue to knock it back is just sickening.’
In a statement an HMRC spokesperson said: ‘HMRC does not in general comment on the tax affairs of individual businesses, but our aim is to efficiently collect the debts due and to prevent things deteriorating further.
‘Anyone who anticipates payment problems should call us as early as possible as we have an outstanding track record for supporting those with genuine problems.
‘We only initiate winding up action where we believe this is the best way to protect both the interests of other taxpayers and creditors.’
A spokesperson for Merseytravel said it had been made aware of Ace Travel’s intention to put the company into liquidation at the weekend, and the authority said it was ‘currently looking at options for the immediate future of the services and longer term.’