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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Irregular Payments: Specific IT systems: SAFE

Cheque and cash paymentsPayments that fail the reference number check character validation are directed by the operator to the Unidentified Range in OAS.

Where the information accompanying the payment is insufficient to determine the Head of Duty system and initial tracing fails to provide any additional information, the payment will be banked and directed to the unidentified range in OAS. If the payment is subsequently identified as proper to a SAFE customer account the payment will be reallocated from OAS using Process Payment Lot (Reallocate from OAS).

Where the information accompanying the payment indicates that it is proper to a SAFE charge type or a partially completed reference indicates a SAFE customer account (for example a file indicator of “X”) then limited tracing can be undertaken to establish the full SAFE reference number. If the NINO, UTR or BROCS reference is known “View Customer Account” can be used to trace the customer account and the relevant charge record.

Where either

  • the SAFE customer account, or
  • the charge record has been identifieda pro-forma payslip must be prepared, using the Print Payslip application, to accompany the payment.

Electronic paymentsAll references that start with X are referred to SAFE. Payments that fail SAFE reference validations are referred direct to the SAFE Unmatched Worklist.

Other payment references are validated by RCS and any that fail are directed to OAS. If subsequently the payment is identified as proper to a SAFE customer account the payment will be reallocated from OAS using Process Payment Lot (Reallocate from OAS).

Unmatched worklistElectronic payments that fail SAFE validation and payments that cannot be matched against an existing customer account or charge are directed to the Unmatched Worklist. This is an electronic worklist that is actioned by the SAFE Team using the function Manage Unmatched Payment. The SAFE Team will

  • attempt to trace and identify the correct customer account or charge in SAFE and, if successful, reallocate the payment to the Customer Account Record (CAR)
  • transfer to OAS any payment proper to another HoD or which requires repayment. This is achieved by creating a new CAR using the next available pseudo pre computer/legacy reference held by the SAFE Team. The payment is reallocated from Unmatched Payments to Unallocated Payments on the new CAR. From here the payment can be transferred to OAS.
  • classify any payment that cannot be identified as a Permanent Overpayment (POP).If a payment held in Unmatched becomes dishonoured – the Returned Payment Lot will apply the minus posting to the original item. See


The user will be able to B/F a case for follow up action.