Reply To: How can I get properly unbiased advice about options in dealing with aggressive IRD action over alleged personal debts that cannot now ever be paid as a result of covid19.  Accountants cannot help.  Tax lawyers want you to pay them to negotiate on your behalf. Insolvency ‘experts’ want you to pay them to help you into bankruptcy.

That’s a tough one! Your accountant / tax agent should be able to help and is usually first port of call for this type of issue, and they should be an advocate for you (hopefully they aren’t biased!) When you say “alleged” do you mean you don’t agree with the assessments that the IRD have made? Are they default assessments because a return wasn’t filed? If that’s the case filing the outstanding returns would be good starting place. If you are unsure, then log on to the IRD website and check the details of the assessments. I think there is an increased willingness from IRD to accept compromised arrangements that they might not have done prior to COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean they will agree to everything either. It’s hard to provide general advice on this topic, because it will depend entirely on the full circumstances (type of debt – whether it’s predominantly core tax or interest and penalties, how the debt arose, why it wasn’t paid at the time, your full financial circumstances). One pathway you could consider is to file an IR590 disclosing your full financial position to the IRD, from there they will make an assessment about recoverability of the debts. I can’t advise doing that without full knowledge of the circumstances though, it is an option you could discuss with your accountant. If it’s predominantly tax debts that you are facing, you may be able to avoid bankruptcy.