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HMRC internal manual

COTAX Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Repayments / reallocations: bona vacantia (BV): overview

Where a UK incorporated company has been removed from the register of companies at Companies House, usually referred to as ‘struck-off’ or ‘dissolved’, it ceases to exist and all its assets become bona vacantia. These assets belong to one of five relevant bodies also known as the BV recipient.

For HMRC purposes we have agreed to move overpayments to the following BV recipients.

  • Scotland.
  • Northern Ireland.
  • Treasury Solicitors (TSols) acting as the ‘Crown’ for England and Wales except:

    • Duchy of Cornwall
    • Duchy of Lancaster.

The appropriate BV recipient should be clear from the location of the registered office, but further guidance can be found at BVG1040. Follow the link to ‘Appendix A’ in that guidance for precise details about towns and cities that fall within the boundaries of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Monies that are appropriate to be moved to a BV recipient appear on one of the following worklists:

  • CPYT (Payments after cessation list)
  • LOPD (Overpayments list) - responsible office
  • LOPU (Overpayments list) - DMB.

COM94013, COM126091 and COM126081 have specific guidance on how to deal with these cases.

Once bona vacantia sums have been moved out of HMRC, the appropriate body treats HMRC as having no further claims on the money.

It is therefore extremely important that before moving the money to a BV recipient you ensure:

  • all outstanding CT debts have been cleared
  • where processes allow, there are no other outstanding liabilities on another head of duty against which the overpayment can be set off
  • potential CT charges are covered. This includes occasions where a company has paid its tax liability for an AP before filing its return to establish the tax due.

You should:

  • use Function RAMA (Raise / Amend Assessment) to raise a revenue determination to cover the amount paid
  • inhibit the output to the dissolved company by entering a ‘Y’ in the ‘Was the determination issued manually’ in screen COT122H and enter today’s date to release the charge on to COTAX
  • ensure the payment received is correctly allocated to this AP, see COM125000 for further guidance.

Further guidance can be found at BVG1010 onwards on the principles of bona vacantia.