HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

The managing serious defaulters (MSD) programme: introduction

You should check the other guidance available on GOV.UK from HMRC as Brexit updates to those pages are being prioritised before manuals.

The Managing Serious Defaulters (MSD) programme is part of a wide range of activities to support HMRC’s strategy to tackle deliberately non-compliant behaviour.

It seeks to:

  • send a clear message that deliberate non-compliance is wrong
  • significantly deter people from deliberate non-compliance
  • reassure the vast majority who do pay the right amount that we are serious about tackling deliberate non-compliance.

The continuous management and evaluation activity will either:

  • provide HMRC with the required assurance that a person has moved away from non-compliant behaviour
  • identify any case where we need to re-intervene early.

We will continue to monitor the customer’s tax affairs until we are satisfied there is no longer a high risk they will continue to deliberately get their tax affairs wrong, or try to get out of paying what they owe. For most people, monitoring will last between two and five years.

HMRC has set up a dedicated team to manage the MSD programme - the Serious Defaulters Management Unit (SDMU).

Note: When this programme was originally launched in February 2011 it was called the Managing Deliberate Defaulters programme and the team set up to manage the programme was called the Deliberate Defaulters Management Unit. The name was changed to reflect the widening of scope and better describe the new range of defaulters who are included in the programme.

SDMU will make the final decision whether to include a person in the MSD programme.