If you have made your last payment into your Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) you are probably thinking that at long last it is over. However you are wrong to think this. The Arrangement is not actually finished until your IVA Company issues you with something called a Certificate of Due Completion or Completion Certificate.
A Completion Certificate may come in the form of an actual certificate or just a formal letter which is signed by the Insolvency Practitioner who was responsible for supervising your case.
It states that you have complied in full with your obligations in your IVA and there is nothing more to be done under the arrangement so you are released from all of your liabilities to your creditors who were included.
It is vital that you get your Completion Certificate as soon as possible after your final payment. Until you have it legally speaking your IVA is still in place, your name remains on the Insolvency Register and you are still bound by the terms of the agreement. For example you still have to hand over any windfalls you receive until you get your certificate.
How long should you be waiting for your Completion Certificate?
Once you have made your final payment your IVA Company does have a few things to do before they can issue your Completion Certificate.
They will of course have to check your file to confirm that you have made all the payments you are supposed to make. They then have to write a final report which they send to all your creditors confirming that you have completed all of your obligations.
They also have to send a copy of the final report to the Insolvency Service so that they are aware that the IVA is completed and can take your name off the Insolvency Register.
However these tasks should not take long and there is no reason why you should not receive your completion certificate within 1-2 months of making your final IVA payment.
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I have been waiting too long for my Completion Certificate
I have received plenty of anecdotal evidence where people tell me that they have been waiting up to 12 months or more since making their final IVA payment and are still without their certificate. This is shocking.
Of course there is sometimes a legitimate reason why your IVA company is waiting to issue your certificate. This may be if they are waiting for clearly identified funds to be paid to them. However I have heard of many different excuses which I do not feel are reasonable.
Waiting for creditors
Your IVA Company may have told you that the delay is due to them having to wait for your creditors to confirm that they are happy that they have received all them money due to them under the Arrangement. However the fact is that once the final report has been issued by the Insolvency Practitioner your IVA Company does not have to wait for your creditors to reply. They can then issue your Completion Certificate immediately.
Waiting for PPI Claims
Another common excuse seems to be that the Company is waiting for the outcome of outstanding PPI claims. It may be true that there are claims outstanding. However this can be very simply overcome by putting in place an agreement between yourself and your Insolvency Practitioner that any subsequent compensation received will still be payable to your Arrangement even after the Completion Certificate has been issued and your name taken off the Insolvency Register.
Resolving a VAT issue
I have also heard of people being told that the delay is due to the company having to resolve a VAT issue concerning their IVA with HMRC. It is true that in 2012 all IVA Companies were required to make VAT claims against HMRC for overpaid VAT which resulted in more money being paid back to creditors. However as far as I am aware all reputable Companies have now have resolved this and it is no longer a reason to delay the completion of an Arrangement.
What can I do if I have not received my Completion Certificate?
Having finished your IVA payments if you have been waiting for more than 2 months for your Completion Certificate what can you do?
My advice is that you request your IVA Company to confirm the specific reason for the delay to you and if this seems unreasonable you should give them the ultimatum that either they will issue your Certificate within 2 weeks or you will issue a formal written complaint to your Insolvency Practitioner.
BMD Tip: Very often making the threat of a formal complaint is enough to get things moving as all IPs must take formal complaints seriously.
If you do go ahead and issue a complaint but are still not satisfied you also have the option of escalating this one step further to your IPs governing body. You should mention that you will be prepared to do that if the situation is not resolve to your satisfaction.
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