HM Revenue & Customs’ Business Payment Support Service (BPSS) has helped over 160,000 businesses reschedule more than £5billion of tax in its first 15 months, new figures reveal today.

The BPSS gives viable businesses, experiencing temporary difficulties paying their taxes, the opportunity to reschedule their tax payments to a more affordable timetable, as part of a ‘time to pay’ arrangement. These arrangements can cover PAYE, National Insurance, VAT or any other HMRC taxes.

In total, around 300,000 time to pay arrangements worth £5.13billion have been agreed by HMRC since the launch of BPSS in November 2008 – an average of more than 4,500 every week.

Businesses from a wide range of different industries have arranged time to pay agreements through the BPSS – everything from retail, tourism, transport and leisure to farming, manufacturing, construction and engineering.

Welcoming the figures, Financial Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Timms said:

“It is excellent news that the Business Payment Support Service continues to provide much needed help to UK businesses, with over £5billion now rescheduled and over 160,000 businesses helped and a very high level of payment, in line with the agreements reached.

“The scheme will remain in place as long as necessary, as we want to continue to help businesses through the difficulties they are facing, because small businesses are the backbone of the British economy and have a vital part to play in our economic recovery.”

The BPSS helpline can be contacted on 0845 302 1435 from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, and from 8am to 4pm at weekends.

When contacting the BPSS, callers should ensure they have the following information to hand:

* Tax reference number;
* Details of the tax you are having, or will have, trouble paying; and
* When you expect to be able to pay the tax.