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HMRC internal manual

COTAX Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Pursuit: enforcement: enforcement action (Action Guide)

To take enforcement action for COTAX liabilities consider, steps 1 - 22 below. The guide is presented as follows.

Actions before starting proceedings Steps 1 - 13
(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
Proceedings started Steps 15 - 20
Transfer of proceedings case Step 21
Proceedings withdrawn or deferred Step 22

Actions before starting proceedings

  1.  Follow the general guidance in the Recovery Manual, IDMS Helpcard 3 and the additional steps below.

  2.  Use function VPPD (View Payment and Posting Details) and IDMS to confirm the amount overdue.

  3.  Use function DPUR (Display Pursuit Action) to confirm the pursuit action already taken by COTAX.

  4. Check IDMS history to confirm any other actions taken either manually or by the auto enforcement process.

  5.  Where the company’s name on the COTAX record has been abbreviated because it is long, use the full name shown in the NOTES or from form C87-3 in all communications with the company and on all forms relating to the proceedings.

  6.   Check SAFE for any additional liabilities assessed on the company that are not on COTAX. There is a list of common non-COTAX assessment types to be used.

  7.  Consider any additional information obtained during initial pursuit of the liability.

  8.  If IDMS has not selected the case for the auto enforcement process (AEP), use IDMS to issue the appropriate warning letter to the company advising that you will start enforcement proceedings if payment is not made within a specified time.

Note: An outstanding amount over £100,000 could have been made LA before the due date (Word 49KB) because the return has been delivered early and the ‘PLA’ signal is set to ‘Y’. In such cases payment applications may not have been issued and it is therefore particularly important that you make the appropriate personal application.

  1.  If you need to make a personal call but the address is only a Post Office (PO) Box number and postcode, use function VTPR (View Taxpayer) screen TXP018E View Communication Name and Address to obtain the full postal address.

10. If the full address is not shown, ask the responsible office for it.

11. List the case on a paper imminent proceedings list.

12. Use IDMS to record actions you have taken and change the process path.

13. Use function RAPP (Revise AP Pursuit) to set the CII clerical interest indicator to ‘Y’. You must not take any enforcement action to recover a quarterly instalment payment in advance of a charge to tax.

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Serious financial difficulty {#serious}

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

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Proceedings started

15. When completing form N1 in a County Court Proceedings action, use simplified particulars of claim. See example 18 in the Enforcement Manual E4/APP2.

16. Use function CINT (Compute Interest) to calculate debit interest where proceedings have started before the normal due date or late payment interest where proceedings have started after the normal due date. Include interest in your claim on form N1.

17. Do not raise the interest charge. Debit interest continues to accrue until the earlier of the normal due date or the date payment is made in full.

Debit interest is raised automatically by COTAX at the normal due date unless the credit / debit interest indicator (CDII) is set to Y. If the CDII is set you need to raise debit interest manually using function RMIC (Raise Manual Interest Charge). You can do this at the normal due date.

Late payment interest continues to accrue until the payment is made in full and is raised automatically by COTAX unless the CII (Clerical Interest Indicator) is set. If the CII is set you need to raise late payment interest manually using function RMIC once the tax charge has been paid.

18. Use function RAPP (Revise AP Pursuit) to set the ‘LA-ENF’ signal to ‘Y’ when you carry out the RP check on the morning you intend to:

  • make a distraint call
  • ask the Officer in Charge to sign a Summary Warrant application in Scotland only
  • enter a claim in the County Court
  • lodge complaint in the Magistrates’ Court
  • send documents for registration in Court in Scotland only.

19. Carry out a RP check at all subsequent stages of enforcement.

20. Use the Hearing / Proceedings screen available in IDMS to record the details of your case.

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Transfer of proceedings case

21. If you need to transfer responsibility for collection of a liability and proceedings have started or are about to start, see COM41000 for transfer to another Debt Management Office or COM112030 for transfer to EIS (Enforcement & Insolvency Service).

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Proceedings withdrawn or deferred

22. Use function RAPP (Revise AP Pursuit) to change the ‘LA-ENF’ signal to ‘N’ when an amount is still payable but local proceedings are withdrawn or deferred. This includes where a distraint call is not made on the intended date and no other recovery action is already being taken for the same AP.