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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Debt and return pursuit: Self Assessment: debt and return background: outstanding debt and return work items


Where a SA reminder letter is not appropriate, or a SA reminder letter has already been issued, and the debt or return remains outstanding the SA computer system sends the outstanding debt and return work item to IDMS.

The SA database is scanned each week to identify:

  • amounts of £25 or over and already overdue
  • outstanding returns
  • amounts less than £25 where certain signals are present.

The system then creates IDMS work items for those cases identified. Work items are segmented within IDMS into various work areas referred to as ‘DMB campaigns’. IDMS out sorts the work items and will send them to either:

  • DMB campaigns
  • specialist teams within DMB; for example, ICHU and National Debt Pursuit Unit
  • the appropriate DTO.

DMB Campaign cases

IDMS work items selected for DMB campaigns are allocated to specific campaigns depending on each campaign’s criteria. Each campaign is then managed independently giving DMB greater flexibility and the ability to work each campaign differently.

IDMS will then either:

  • issue an IDMS99 debt and / or return automatic letter specific to the campaign
  • pass the work item to the Debt Management Telephone Centre (DMTC) for a phone call
  • pass the work item to the appropriate DTO for clerical review.

As part of this process IDMS and DMB campaigns identifies high-risk and low-risk cases.

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

Insolvency cases

In an insolvency case (a case where an Insolvency reference has been entered on the taxpayer’s SA record), outstanding debts and returns appear on the relevant ICHU Work List.

If an insolvency reference is entered on the taxpayer’s SA record:

  • an IDMS work item is created on the ICHU Work List immediately
  • any existing work item on the DTO IDMS Work List is deleted automatically.

In these circumstances the debt and / or return is pursued by ICHU.

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RLS cases

Where the RLS Signal is present on the taxpayer’s SA record SA creates a work item on Work List W032 and IDMS creates a work item on the caseworker RLS Work List.

Note: You must set the RLS signal on TBS to ensure that it updates the taxpayer’s SA record. The signal will then flow to both SA and IDMS.

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Amounts below £25 where certain signals are not set

The SA system where certain signals are not set, will not pass amounts below £25 to IDMS. The SA system ‘rolls forward’ amounts below £25 to pursue once future liability(ies) increase the total debt to a sum of £25 and above and / or a return becomes outstanding.

Items that are already in IDMS which fall below £25 where certain signals are not set, will be removed from IDMS and ‘rolled forward’ by the SA system until a time where the total debt increases to a sum of £25 and above and/or a return becomes outstanding.

Note: The amount shown on IDMS does not include a work item for the SA accruing interest amount but the accrued interest to date can be viewed on IDMS using the INTEREST CALCULATOR function

You can find details of the Work Management System in the Self Assessment Manual, ‘Work Management’ (SAM71000).

Where both a debt and return are outstanding for a taxpayer, pursuit should be co-ordinated. See section Action in DMTC and DTO: Introduction DMBM516100.

Check all Heads of Duty to determine the overall position for the taxpayer before an approach is made.

For further information on IDMS

For more details about IDMS and how to access any of the IDMS functions please refer to the IDMS site on the Intranet or the IDMS User Guide.