An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is a debt solution that could be a good option for you if you’re struggling to repay unsecured debts, but only if you fully commit to it.
The point of an IVA is to pay off outstanding debt through monthly payments. IVA providers will expect you to pay as much as you can afford towards your remaining debt, so hiding assets and money can result in IVA failure.
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In this guide we’ll explore hiding money from an IVA, including whether it’s possible, whether your IVA company has access to your bank accounts, and what happens if you fail to declare all your assets when entering into your IVA agreement.
Can you hide money at the beginning of an IVA?
As soon as your IVA begins, you enter into a legally-binding contract with your creditors that allows you to pay towards your total debt through affordable monthly payments. In exchange, your creditors agree to write off your remaining debt whenever your payment term ends.
When your Insolvency Practitioner (IP) drafts your IVA proposal, your monthly repayments are based on what you can afford, taking into account everything from your monthly income and living expenses, to bonuses, extra earnings, and even your savings account.
The way the arrangement is set up makes it difficult to hide money from your IVA. In theory, every source of income or earnings you have has been declared as you enter the arrangement, and any money left over from your living costs will go towards your IVA payments, otherwise you may be in breach of the agreement.
What if I come into money during my IVA?
We all know that our personal circumstances and financial circumstances change, and given an IVA typically lasts five or six years, it’s common for the IVA holder’s disposable income to increase during the agreement.
It’s not outside the realms of possibility for the holder of an IVA to come into a sum of money completely unexpectedly, for example a relative passing away and leaving a large inheritance, or even a lottery win.
Any unexpected lump sum is usually covered by a windfall clause inserted in your IVA (Insolvency Practitioners will be able to confirm whether your agreement carries this clause.)
If the amount you receive is more than your remaining debt, you will be expected to pay off your IVA early as well as paying the fees to your Insolvency Practitioner and any statutory interest on your debt. Only if the windfall is less than £500 will you be able to keep the money.
For anyone whose earnings increase during their IVA, it’s important they contact their IVA provider immediately and complete a change of circumstances review.
While it’s not a given that your extra income will mean an increase in your monthly payments – your cost of living may have increased as well – it’s important you contact your provider and allow your Insolvency Practitioner to decide whether your arrangement needs to be adapted.
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Can an IVA see my bank account?
During your IVA application you will be expected to go through a rigorous affordability check that involves providing bank statements, account details, wage slips, and other details that allow your IP to work out an affordable monthly payment for you.
That means your IP and IVA provider will have a pretty good idea of how much money you make, as well as how much money you spend on essential living costs like food, rent, and council tax.
While your IVA provider might not be able to access your bank accounts directly, they will find out one way or another if you attempt to hide assets or cash from your arrangement. You will then face serious consequences.
What happens if I hide money from my Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)?
Because an IVA is a legally binding agreement between yourself and the people you owe money to, it is overseen by the courts.
There are a series of punishments you could face if you attempt to hide money from your IVA, starting with IVA failure and potentially ending in the courts.
If you are found to have hidden assets or money from your arrangement that could otherwise have been put towards your debts, the first thing that is likely to happen is your IVA will fail.
Not declaring funds is a breach of your agreement, so it will likely be terminated. When your IVA fails, your Insolvency Practitioner (IP) will send you a letter of termination and a failure report. The failure report includes all the details of your failed IVA, and the reason for the failure.
Once your IVA fails the arrangement will end, meaning you won’t have to continue making payments to your IVA provider or your Insolvency Practitioner.
That said, the money you originally owed still stands. Your creditors will be owed the remaining balance of the debts included in the IVA, and it’s your responsibility to arrange further payments towards your total debts if you want to avoid bankruptcy.
Because an IVA is a legally-binding agreement, it offers you protection from creditors hassling you for payments. When IVAs fail, that protection no longer exists.
Creditors can resume contacting you, and even have the power to make you bankrupt straight away because you breached the agreement.
Your IP, empowered by the Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA), also has the ability to make you bankrupt in this instance.
As with any legally binding agreement, you could face court action for breaching your IVA. Not only is hiding money or assets from the arrangement a breach of contract, it’s also fraud.
While it’s not guaranteed, there is every chance you will be taken to court by your IVA provider or your creditors, and your decision to hide money from your IVA could even result in jail time depending on how serious the charge is.
That’s why it’s never a good idea to hide money from an IVA. If you’re involved in an arrangement and come into a sum of money unexpectedly, contact your IP right away. The money can be put towards your debts, help you pay off your IVA early, and allow you to get on with your life.
Where can I get debt advice and more information on IVAs?
If you’re currently struggling with your finances and aren’t sure how you will be able to afford to pay off your debts, don’t panic. Talk to IVA Plan.
Our team of debt specialists know what you’re going through, and can talk you through your options and help you find the debt solution that’s best for you.
For free initial advice and comprehensive debt solutions, contact IVA Plan today.