Beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what this means

HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
, see all updates

Payment processing and accounting: missing and alleged payments

Overview

Missing and Alleged Payment (MAPS) cases generally occur as a result of a customer receiving a reminder for payment of a particular liability where they believe payment has already been made but it doesn’t appear to have been credited to their record.

This guidance advises you of the processes to be followed should a customer contact you to advise that they have already made payment.

Direct Taxes payments

Note: If the payment was for a Tax Credit overpayment, please refer to the guidance in DMSS6640 section 4.0.

Initial action

Where a customer contacts you to advise that they believe a payment has already been made you should follow the guidance in the Initial Action helpcard (PDF 84KB) to carry out an initial search.

If you can’t find the payment from the initial search and the customer is still of the view that the payment was made to HMRC then they will need to supply further information.

Further information required

To progress the search the customer will need to provide us with more information to allow HMRC to trace the payment. At this stage the onus is on the customer to provide evidence that the payment was made to HMRC. The additional information we need will depend on how the customer made the payment and may require the customer to obtain copies of information from their bank or building society.

Cheque (PDF 45KB) 
Bank giro or at the Post Office (PDF 44KB)
Bacs Direct Credit, internet or telephone banking, Faster Payments or CHAPS (PDF 68KB)
Debit/credit card made by Telephone Payment Service (TPS) (PDF 49KB)
Debit/credit card over the internet using BillPay (PDF 29KB)
Direct Debit (PDF 46KB)

If you still can’t find the payment using the additional information then the enquiry will need to be submitted to the appropriate team for further investigation as detailed in the helpcards.

You should not refer an enquiry to the appropriate team without completing an AZ750 form and obtaining the additional information as detailed on the helpcards. You can find the AZ750 can be found in SEES > Forms and letters > DMB Banking > AZ750 Missing/alleged payment.

VAT Payments

Initial action

Where a customer contacts you to advise that they believe a payment has already been made you should follow the guidance in the Initial Action helpcard (PDF 55KB) to carry out an initial search.

If you can’t find the payment from the initial search and the customer is still of the view that the payment was made to HMRC then they will need to supply further information.

Further information required

To progress the search the customer will need to provide us with more information to allow HMRC to trace the payment. At this stage the onus is on the customer to provide evidence that the payment was made to HMRC. The additional information we need will depend on how the customer made the payment and may require the customer to obtain copies of information from their bank or building society.

Cheque (PDF 42KB)
Giro payments (including bank giro) (PDF 22KB)
Bacs Direct Credit, internet or telephone banking, Faster Payments or CHAPS (PDF 42KB)
Debit/credit card made by Telephone Payment Service (TPS) (PDF 47KB)
Debit/credit card over the internet using BillPay (PDF 29KB)

If you still can’t find the payment from the additional information then the enquiry will need to be submitted to the appropriate team for further investigation as detailed in the helpcards.

You should not refer an enquiry to the appropriate team without completing a VAT997 form and obtaining the additional information as detailed on the helpcards. You can find the VAT997 can be found in SEES > Forms and letters > DMB Banking > VAT997 Remittance trace request/action sheet.

Compensation Claims

In exceptional circumstances, e.g., if all other avenues to trace the payment have been exhausted, it may be necessary to ask the customer to obtain a copy of the paid cheque or bank statement as evidence that the payment was made.

Some banks and building societies charge for providing this information so you may receive a request from the customer for compensation to cover the cost of the bank charge.

If you do, pass the details of the claim to the DMB Complaints team using the stencil available on the DMB Complaints page. They will consider the claim and arrange reimbursement if due.

Stolen Cheques

Where a cheque is sent through the post there is a risk of theft, and fraudulent encashment of stolen cheques does happen.

A stolen cheque case may be discovered when you are dealing with a missing or alleged payment enquiry. Most stolen cheque cases are discovered when a copy of the stolen cheque is received from the customer and it is clear that the name of the payee has been amended from HMRC to another name or title.

Stolen cheque cases can also come to light when the customer tells you that their bank or building society has advised that a cheque sent in payment has cleared, but it was not paid to HMRC.

Important: If a stolen cheque case is identified all actions must be given absolute priority.

Action to take

Ask the customer to:

  • report the apparent theft to the police and to their bank or building society
  • provide the information required to complete a stolen cheque report
  • provide a copy of the front and back of the cleared cheque (if you do not already have this); if you do not have an appropriate postal address for customers to use (for example, in DMTC) and are therefore unable to receive a copy of the cheque, please ask the customer for as many details as possible from the cheque, to add to the stolen cheque report - explain that the case may be submitted to Royal Mail for further investigation, but that none of the customer’s personal details will be provided to Royal Mail

Note: Royal Mail are unable to provide feedback on individual cases but use the general information in their investigations.

  • make a replacement payment, recommending that the customer makes this and any future payments electronically; you should highlight that electronic payments:

    • are safe and secure
    • provide certainty about when their payment will reach HMRC
    • avoid postal costs and delays.

Details of how to pay electronically can be found in the Paying HMRC guidance (GOV.UK).

Then:

  • if appropriate, note IDMS ‘STOLEN CHEQUE CASE’ and defer further action for five working days to allow time for the replacement payment to be received
  • complete a stolen cheque report, available on SEES > Forms and Letters > DMB Banking > Stolen cheque report; when completing the stolen cheque report, please ensure that the:

    • date the cheque was posted
    • town/city where the cheque was posted

are recorded, as without this Royal Mail will be unable to make use of this information

  • send the completed report to Banking 2, TAG Team (DMB Banking) mailbox with “Stolen Cheque Case” in the subject line - please mark the email as PROTECT - Customer Information
  • send a copy of the cleared cheque to the Banking 2 TAG Team; you can either do this by emailing it to the address above (please select the ‘OFFICIAL (marked)’ security classification when sending the email), or sending it by TNT Track and Trace to:

Banking 2 TAG Team
First Floor
Victoria Street
Shipley
BD98 1YY

  • print a copy of the stolen cheque report and keep this with the copy of the cleared cheque from the customer
  • for VAT cases, please ensure that all relevant information is either captured or scanned to Electronic Folder, indexed and linked accordingly.

Apart from liaising with Royal Mail, Banking 2 TAG do not take any other actions in these cases. If any additional actions are required, these will need to be carried out by the reporting office.