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When Is The Water Coming Back?

Ever tried to find the answer to a question you probably already knew the answer ie. that it was unanswerable?

A few weeks ago in North London, Thames Water had one of its outages. The normal flow of fluid that we take for granted dried up one Saturday morning. Pipes that normally have to be restrained by safety valves started emptying as kettles were filled and eyes filled with debris cleared.

Suddenly a WhatApp flurry of activity sparked as the realisation started to grip people that there was no water:

“Have you got water?!”
“Why would I have no water!?”
“No. Have you got water?!”
“Jo across the road has no water either”.
“Tim says the flow is weak”.
“Adam says he has no flow at all.”
“Nicky says she is fine. Great for her.”
“Debra says the hot is still working…”

And so it went on and on.

However, for the first few hours, it did not seem so dramatic. Thames Water invited you to collect what under normal circumstances would have been weeks and weeks of supplies of bottled water and their website suggested all should be back to normal by the evening.

However, before too long that evening target stretched as the problem was more severe than initially thought.  Suddenly the timescale for a return to normal was like a bar of soap. Almost within your grasp as you held onto the suggested timescale for matters to return to normal but it continually slipped away from you further and further towards Sunday.

Then Sunday morning arrives and the realisation really started to hit home. You could not, even with the crates of bottled water sweep or swosh away cultures that had accumulated overnight.

Checks at the Thames Water website intensified. As did the calls to their hotlines. The notable question asked: “when is the water going to come back on today?”.

Then the fake news started circulating. It is going to be like this for days!! Do we need to move into a hotel? Will Thames Water pay for two nights or three?

Thames Water suggested they were working under Stakhanovite conditions to get things back to normal but when asked whether the pipes would hum again by 4pm, no assurances could be provided.

Rightly they could not answer the question everyone was asking – when would pressure be back in those pipes and the drought be at an end.

Director Liability For Tax?

It is commonplace for Directors whose companies are being pursued by HMRC in respect of unpaid tax debts to want to know the answer to the following question:

“will I be personally liable?”

The concern is of course entirely justified and the associated uncertainty can be unsettling.

In practical terms, however, this is an ‘unanswerable’. There are many factors at work that mean saying to a Director there are no circumstances in which you could be personally liable to HMRC for some of the company’s taxes, is not feasible. The basic principle is that the debts of a limited liability company are not the liability of its Directors. However, that does not mean there are no circumstances that can come along to flush some of that away.

If it is suggested otherwise then perhaps the proposition “if it seems too good to be true, it usually is” might warrant careful consideration.

(To see how this might be an ‘unanswerable’ follow this Blog. Sign up for the latest insolvency and tax news, straight from the frontline).

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Disclaimer: Asking The Unanswerable (Director Liability For Tax)?

This page Asking The Unanswerable (Director Liability For Tax)? is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. This article Asking The Unanswerable (Director Liability For Tax)? is provided for information purposes only. You can contact us on the specific facts of your case to obtain relevant advice via a Free Initial Consultation.

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