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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Customer contact and data security: contact with third parties: how to handle calls from third parties: call from relative/friend - customer not present - including setting up TTP and taking payment

If you receive a call from a relative or friend who wishes to speak on behalf of the customer and the customer is not present and they are not calling to request TTP then you must

  • politely explain that we cannot discuss the customers tax affairs without the customer present and the customer must call in themselves or write to us giving authority.

Unauthorised third party is calling to set up TTP

If a friend/relative/colleague/staff member and so on contacts you advising that the customer cannot pay than you can agree TTP providing the case meets the conditions below.

Speaking to the caller

You must identify the caller using the specific verification checks for this type of call, see DMBM512905 - be very careful not to disclose any information to the caller.

Once you have identified the caller you should use their name and ask them how much is outstanding.

If the caller confirms the correct amount you should ask

  • for the reasons the customer can’t pay
  • how long they need to pay the debt.

You can agree to the request providing that they meet the following criteria

  • you believe the request is genuine
  • the liability/debt is under £10,000 
  • the debt will be cleared in less than 3 months 
  • there has not been a previous TTP granted in the last 12 months
  • enforcement action has not been started
  • all returns have been submitted and processed.

If the caller gives the incorrect amount or the case doesn’t meet the criteria

If the case does not meet the criteria above or the amount the caller advises you of is different to the amount outstanding on screen you should advise the caller

  • you are unable to agree a TTP arrangement with them
  • you need to discuss the situation with the customer and ask them to call in.

TTP agreed

If the case meets the criteria above you should advise the caller that you can accept their request and advise them that you will send a letter of confirmation to the customer.

You should follow setting up the TTP in line with DMBM803700. If you are unable to issue an automated TTP agreement letter you must send a TTP10 from SEES.

Note: If the caller advises of a change of address whilst setting up the TTP, you should not go ahead with the arrangement until you have verified the address, see DMBM512150.

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Unauthorised third party is calling to make payment

If the third party - relative, friend, colleague, member of staff, for example - is calling to make payment and the customer is not present at the time of the call, you should, wherever possible, accept that payment.


  • should explain to the third party that you will accept the payment but you are unable to discuss the case any further with them.
  • must be very careful in these situations not to disclose any information to the caller
  • must firstly verify the third party is calling in regards to the correct record using the appropriate verification checks (see DMBM512905) for this type of call. This is important to ensure any payments you received are posted to the correct case.
  • should make an appropriate note (see DMBM513030) note of who the third party is, and their relationship (if any) to the customer.

The amount the caller offers is the same as the amount on screen

If the amount the caller offers to pay is the same amount as the debt on screen, then you should

  • take payment using the National Direct Debit system (NDDS) for more information seeNDDUG.
  • note the record accordingly including a note of who has paid.

The amount the caller offers is different to the amount on screen

If the amount the third party offers is different to the amount on screen - for example the amount offered is less or more than the total debt - then you should accept the amount being paid (as above), but do not confirm that it is different to the amount on screen.