After every year passes in your Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), an annual review will be conducted.
The purpose of this review is to reassess your ability to afford your monthly IVA payments.
It is conducted to ensure that you are paying only what you can afford as well as if you have the ability to pay more.
What is the Purpose of the Annual IVA Review?
As you approach the end of your first year in your IVA, you will be notified by your Insolvency Practitioner (IP) that your annual review is due.
As the name suggests, this review will be conducted at the end of each year while your IVA is in place.
Usually, you’re going to have to prove proof and documentation of your income over the last year. Your IP will most likely ask to see only the wage slips from your last 3 months but it’s a good idea to have the rest of them on hand as well.
You will also be expected to provide copies of bank statements from the last 3 months as well as an updated breakdown of what your monthly expenditure looks like.
As you can probably tell, this review will enable your IP to determine whether you can still afford the IVA payment that you agreed to a year ago or not.
Depending on the information you provide, the amount of money you’ll have to pay in the future may stay the same, increase or decrease.
How do I Prepare for My IVA Annual Review?
Annual reviews are there to help you but it’s understandable to be nervous when you’re faced with your first annual review.
Once you know that your annual review is coming up, it’s a good idea to get a hold of your original IVA proposal.
Inside this proposal, you will find the original breakdown of monthly household expenditure which you proposed a year ago.
You can use this breakdown as a baseline for the current breakdown which you’re going to have to make. It can really help you streamline the process of detailing your income and expenditure.
Make sure that wherever there have been increases or decreases, you should make appropriate changes to the expenditure breakdown to reflect these changes.
As I mentioned earlier, your IP is going to require proof of your income and expenditures. Thus, you’re going to have to get a hold of bank statements as well as payslips for the past year.
If you have access to online banking, it’s a good idea to get them printed using this facility. If you don’t have access to online banking, then you can request your bank for copies.
I’d advise you to get all of the necessary documents in order about a month before your annual review is to be conducted.
Once you obtain everything, be sure to compare it against your bills, expenses and income to ensure all of the documentation is correct. If you find any discrepancy, get it sorted beforehand.
You will also have to send your most recent P60 tax form.
Your IP’s job will then be to assess the financial circumstances that you have detailed and determine whether your monthly payments should increase, decrease or remain the same.
The quicker you send in the documents, the quicker your review will be and the sooner the changes will be made to your IVA payments.
Once the review is complete, you will receive a report of the findings of the review. It will give you details about how much debt has been paid off, how much debt is left and what your IVA payments are going to look like for the next year.
As I said earlier, depending on your financial situation, your monthly payment will either remain the same, increase or decrease.
Some great advice that I can give you is to always keep a copy of the figures that you provide for your annual review each year. This way, you can use the figures you used in the previous year to prepare for the annual review that would be coming up.
Why would My Monthly Payment be Increased?
If your income has increased by a significant amount over the past 12 months or if your living expenses have decreased, then you may be required to increase the amount of money you pay towards your IVA each month.
While this may seem unfair, it’s important to note that your payment will never be increased to a point where they become unaffordable for you. Insolvency Practitioners ensure that debtors are always required to make debt repayments that are affordable to them.
What Happens if My Spare Income has Decreased?
If the amount of money you have to contribute towards your IVA each month has decreased over the past year, then you may be worried about what the consequences of this might be.
Not to worry though as you do have a couple of options.
Firstly, you can ask for a payment reduction of up 15% from your IP. A reduction of up to 15% can be arranged without having to seek permission from your creditors. Although, you will have to seek permission from your IP.
On the other hand, if a 15% reduction still isn’t affordable for you, then you may have to request for a ‘variation’ proposal.
This would involve your IP sitting down with you, giving you advice and devising a plan as to what your monthly IVA payment may look like in the future.
Your IP will take this proposal to your creditors. If they approve it, then your payments will be reduced. There’s a high chance that the duration of your IVA may be extended to more than 5 years if you do this.
If your creditors refuse, then your IVA could fail.
If this is the case, you can seek further debt advice from any debt charity such as StepChange or National Debtline. Always ensure that whatever agency you’re seeking professional debt help from is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
It may definitely be intimidating when you’re faced with an annual review for the first time but remember that it’s only in place to help you by ensuring that you can still afford your IVA.
I hope I was able to help you in some way with this post. Let me know if you have any further questions.