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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Debt and return pursuit: Self Assessment: debt and return background: introduction to debt and return pursuit

Taxpayers are expected to pay tax and submit tax returns by the appropriate payment due date or filing date, and are encouraged to pay amounts or file their tax returns promptly on or before their due dates. This is done by either the issue of:

  • a taxpayer statement which includes a reminding message, together with:

    • SA352 ‘Don’t miss the 31 January deadline’ insert issued with the December statement. The SA352 is obsolete from January 2010 onwards
    • SA303 ‘Claim to reduce Payments on Account’ insert issued with the December statement
  • a reminder form SA309A / SA309E Tax Return and/or Payment Reminder as a prompt before the date the return or debt is due where the return or debt is outstanding (see subject ‘Filing of Returns’)

    • SA342 ‘Paying by Direct Debit’ insert was issued with the December 2009 SA309A
  • form SA309C Payment Reminder where the return has been filed but not captured.

For further details of reminders and various leaflets refer to the topic ‘Filing of Returns’ DMBM515050.

When taxpayers fail to pay or submit their tax returns on time

When taxpayers fail to pay or submit their tax returns on time it is essential to take prompt action to pursue the debt and / or return. The SA computer system will automatically issue a reminder letter for appropriate cases:

  • a filing and payment reminder, SA309A, will be issued in December after the paper filing date (31 October), as there is still time to file an online return and avoid an automatic late filing penalty
  • a payment reminder, SA309C, will be issued after the paper filing date (31 October) when a return has been received but may not be fully captured before payment becomes due on 31 January
  • from February 09 and onwards, a strongly worded payment reminder letter SA359 (Word 69KB) will be issued in February where an amount due on 31 January remains overdue. An automatic note will be made on SA.

Note: Ignore SA notes that show a reminder letter SA-RITA500 has been issued; the SA system no longer issues these reminders.

The majority of outstanding debt and/or return work items are sent to the Integrated Debt Management System (IDMS). IDMS SA Debt and Return recovery and enforcement was, for the majority of cases, an IDMS automated process where IDMS out sorted the work items and either:

  • passed them to the Debt Management Telephone Centre (DMTC) for a phone call
  • issued an automatic IDMS reminder letters, determinations, and enforcement warning letters
  • passed them to the Debt Technical Office (DTO) for clerical review.

From summer 2009, the majority of overdue debt and return cases are segmented within IDMS into various work areas referred to as ‘DMB campaigns’. Each campaign is then managed independently giving DMB greater flexibility and the ability to work each campaign differently.

Cases that are not dealt with by DMB campaigns are sent for review to the DTO or appropriate specialist team, for example ICHU and National Non-Residents Unit.

For further details about DMB campaigns please refer to the Debt Management and Banking (DMB) intranet site, DMB campaigns.

For further details about IDMS please refer to the IDMS website on the Intranet or the IDMS User Guide (IDMSUG).

For more information about the:

  • action to take when reviewing the Work List see section Action by DMB campaigns, DTO and Specialist Teams (DMBM516000)
  • Work Management System see the Self Assessment Manual, ‘Work Management’ (SAM71000).