An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is an agreement between you and your creditors where you repay affordable monthly payments towards your debt over a typical term of five years, with the remainder discharged (written off) at the end of the agreed term. An IVA is supervised by licenced Insolvency Practitioner (IP) and is a legally binding contract between you and your creditors. The IVA is an alternative to bankruptcy, preferable in circumstances where you can make payment towards your debt, just at reduced levels. An IVA is only available for UK residents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Do I pay any fees or charges for an Individual Voluntary Arrangement? Whilst GW does not charge a fee for packaging and preparing your case for the Insolvency Practitioner; there are fees charged by the Insolvency Practitioner, for their services. These are built in to, and deducted from, the payments made in to the IVA. See the ‘Case Study’ for an example of fees and costs for a previous client of ours.
  2. What happens if my creditors don’t accept the IVA? Despite best efforts and advice, sometimes creditors do not agree to the IVA proposal. Where this happens, we will look at the next best solution, for example a Debt Management Programme, with a view to try for an IVA again in a few months – if this remains best advice for you. More often than not, an alternative solution is available for you.
  3. What happens if my circumstances change during the IVA? Advise your Insolvency Practitioner straight away. There will be certain flexibilities within the agreement for common or anticipated changes; these will be specific to your individual circumstances.
  4. How much of my debt will be discharged / written off? Each case is different, dependant on how much you owe, what you can afford to repay, what assets you might have, and how your circumstances change throughout the IVA – for example, if you have a cash windfall you may be expected to pay some or all of this in to the IVA.

What can be included in an IVA?

Debts which can be included within an Individual Voluntary Arrangement include:

  • Credit Cards
  • Unsecured Loans
  • Overdrafts
  • Store-cards
  • Catalogues
  • Payday Loans
  • HP Agreements / Finance (in some circumstances)
  • Disconnected Utilities
  • Council Tax Arrears (in some circumstances)
  • Benefit Overpayments (in some circumstances)
  • HMRC (in some circumstances)
  • Mortgage Shortfall
  • CCJs (in some circumstances)
  • Old business debt (in some circumstances)

It remains your responsibility to make payments to priority commitments outside of your IVA for example; your mortgage / rent, secured loans, vehicle Hire Purchase, council tax (where arrears have not been included in the IVA), some HMRC debt and taxes, child support and fines. Failure to pay these could lead to repossession, loss of access or use of essential goods or services or even imprisonment.

If you are in arrears, or are concerned about your ability to pay commitments like these, GW may be able to offer advice and make suggestions to ensure you get back on your feet with priority expenses, if we can’t help you, we will point you in the right direction.

Advantages and disadvantages

What are the advantages of an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA)?

  • Just one payment *
  • Affordable payments
  • Debt free in just 60 months (typically)
  • Relief from creditor calls, letters and threats of legal action
  • Potentially a percentage of debt written off
  • Interest & Charges frozen
  • Easier budgeting and income management
  • All creditors are treated fairly
  • Timescale for becoming debt free
  • Experienced support

* An IVA does not cover priority bills or some types of debt. See ‘What is an Individual Voluntary Arrangement’ for information on what you can include.

What are the disadvantages of an individual voluntary arrangement?

  • There are restrictions on the type and level of personal expenditure allowed with an IVA
  • Homeowners will be expected to attempt to release equity from the property, and this may attract higher interest rates
  • Homeowners – you may be expected to extend the IVA term,  if you are unable to release equity
  • Those with vehicle Hire Purchase, may be expected to increase their payment or extend the term, depending on the vehicle’s value
  • If payments are not made then your IVA could fail, creditor contact will resume and you could be made bankrupt by your creditors
  • Your details will be registered on the insolvency website as evidence of having entered an IVA
  • Your credit rating will be affected for six years from the date of your IVA approval. You should not apply or take out any credit during the term and should consult your IP for advice if you needed funds, for example, a household item needed replacing.
  • Stopping contractual payments to your creditors, in order to access this debt solution, could cause your creditors to apply interest and charges to the debt and is likely to trigger contact from them via the contact mediums you have agreed with them. We strongly advise you not to ignore contact as you could miss vital information. We can assist you with it as part of our service.

How can GW help you?

  1. A friendly and non-judgemental Personal Finance Advisor will look to complete a detailed telephone assessment of your personal financial circumstances – we call it a ‘Personal Consultation’
  2. The Personal Finance Advisor will assess what solutions are available and suitable and together you will discuss your options and agree the best route to addressing your finances.
  3. If an IVA appears to be the most suitable debt solution for your current circumstances then your Personal Finance Advisor would discuss how it would work for your circumstances and then send you a copy of all discussed for you to read, following the telephone call.
  4. After reviewing paperwork and taking your time in making a decision, if you chose to use GW to explore the IVA further then you would need to return certain documents.
  5. These can be collected from you via a courier – don’t worry – that’s at no cost to you!
  6. Your Personal Finance Advisor would check your paperwork and make sure an IVA remains the better suited solution before transferring your documentation to the Insolvency Practice for the Insolvency Practitioner to begin work on your behalf. GW uses both Hanover Insolvency Practice and Johnson Geddes for our IVA referrals. We would notify you of where we were transferring you to prior to any referral.
  7. If at any stage before approval, it becomes apparent that the IVA is not the best advice you will be notified and will come back through to your Personal Finance Advisor at GW where alternative solutions will be explored and discussed.
  8. If your IVA proposal is successful then you will be looked after by the Insolvency Practitioner and their team for the duration of your IVA.