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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Debt and return pursuit: Self Assessment: action by DMB Campaigns, Debt Technical Offices (DTO) and specialist teams: DTO and specialist teams action

The IDMS work list

Debt and return work items on the IDMS work lists are worked by operators in the Debt Technical Office (DTO) or specialist teams with the user role of C/W SA.

The DTO work lists contain work items that are:

  • not selected for DMB campaigns and an automatic IDMS99 letter(s) or action by Debt Management Telephone Centre (DMTC) is not appropriate, such as where certain signals are present or certain conditions apply; for these, review the case by checking IDMS action history, notes/assets and signals, you will also need to check SA notes and Free Format Notes
  • transferred from DMB campaigns; for these, take appropriate action depending on the customer’s response to the IDMS99 letter(s), any actions already taken by DMTC and the specific campaign requirements
  • transferred from another DTO; for these, take appropriate action depending on the customer’s response to the actions already taken.

The specialist teams work lists contains work items appropriate to the specific team; for example, ICHU and National Non Residents Unit.

Factors influencing pursuit action

Pursuit action is likely to be influenced by the

  • specific campaign requirements
  • amount or age of the work item
  • history of the case.

DTO and Specialist Teams actions

Aim to advance collection with each action you take. Do not repeat actions.

Note: This guidance must be read and actioned in conjunction with the DMB Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Standard Work Instructions (SWIs) which are available in the Guidance Gateway on the Debt Management and Banking site on the Intranet.

Initial checks

From the IDMS C/W SA work list, select the:

  • work item
  • required work item in the Taxpayer Information Screen (TIS).

From the IDMS TIS screen:

  • confirm the amount(s) overdue and include any interest accrued to date using IDMS function INTEREST CALCULATOR: see above where work item is increased
  • confirm the return(s) is still outstanding
  • check what was the last action taken and the date it was taken using IDMS function VIEW ACTION HISTORY.

Where an item links to an existing item review the whole cases so as to determine the next appropriate action.


  • whether a time to pay arrangement has been negotiated, where it has see below
  • whether the Enforcement Case signal is set, where it is see below
  • for signals or conditions and if IDMS shows there are signals but these can’t be seen on IDMS check SA. Where the CPR/Expat signal is set see below.

Use IDMS function VIEW ACTION HISTORY to view IDMS notes for:

  • other relevant information
  • a summary of action taken to date.

Time to pay in existence

If there is an existing time to pay for earlier debts:

  • view IDMS Action History and SA notes if the agreement was made prior to the case coming to IDMS. If a return is outstanding see what conditions regarding filing the return were made when the time to pay arrangement was agreed and take the appropriate action
  • proceed as in DMBM804010, DMBM804020 and DMBM802250.

Enforcement case signal set

Where the Enforcement case signal is set:

  • check that enforcement proceedings are in progress
  • review the case to determine the next action.

If Field Force already have debts for the same debtor only move any new debts to them after the debtor has had at least one written demand for the new debts. If not:

  • take corrective action
  • issue a written demand
  • move the case to Field Force.

Where enforcement proceedings have concluded, cancel the Enforcement case signal using IDMS function RECORD ACTION HISTORY.

High Net Worth (previously CPR) / Expat cases

High Net Worth (HNW) and Expat cases can be identified by the presence of signals on SA, but there are no signals shown on IDMS. The SA IT system recognises HNW cases by the presence of the CPR signal.

Cases under £100,000 will appear on the IDMS C/W SA work list with the Next Action New or Review CPR or ExPat.

New cases £100,000 and above will appear on the C/W SA work list with the Next Action as above, however if the case is £100,000 or above and is not a new case the Next Action will be shown as Review £100,000.

If the CPR or Expat signal is set:

  • check IDMS Action History and Notes/Assets, and SA Notes and SA free format notes for any relevant information the HNW or Expat team may have noted
  • update IDMS Notes/Assets that the case is HNW or Expat if this has not already been done
  • always contact the relevant HNW or Expat team for guidance as they retain files for their customers which may contain helpful information to DMB, such as information about assets or income sources, or when a payment or return can be expected.

If a return is outstanding obtain a determination figure in case you need to use this figure if the return is not filed despite requests. You should:

  • make a note of this on IDMS Action History notes
  • view any IDMS notes for any other relevant information, such as where TTP has been agreed but the Instalment Arrangement function could not be used, and for a summary of action taken to date.

Trust signal set

Where a return is outstanding:

  • phone the appropriate office for guidance on how to proceed
  • if appropriate, obtain a determination figure at the same time in case you need to use this figure if the return is not filed despite requests.

Debts and return(s) where debt or previous year liability is £100,000 or above

If the:

  • debt is £100,000 or over, phone the customer within three working days of receipt on the IDMS worklist
  • return has a previous years’ liability of £100,000 or over, phone the customer within seven working days of receipt on the IDMS work list.

Note: The above actions should only be done where signals or conditions, such as CPR / Expat, do not prevent you from doing so.

Debts and return(s) where debt or previous year liability is below £100,000

Work items excluded from the DMB Campaigns process

Work items with certain signals or conditions are excluded from DMB campaigns and should be worked:

  • 10 to 14 working days after the final date of statement run for POA1
  • 14 working days of the due date for POA2.

With these work items you should:

  • review the work item(s) taking into account the reason why the work items were excluded from the campaigns process
  • contact the customer, either by letter or phone where signals do not prevent you from doing so.

Work items transferred from DMB Campaigns

The next action will depend on the customer’s response to the IDMS99 letters(s) or DMTC contact and the specific campaign requirements.

Claims to reduce

Where the payment on account (POA) liability is disputed:

  • obtain the reason the customer feels the original POAs are incorrect
  • ask for payment of the amount the customer believes is due
  • inform the customer of the interest and surcharge implications if the POAs are reduced by too much
  • advise the customer that penalties may be charged where fraudulent or negligent claims are made
  • process the claim. See SAM business area ‘Amend Payment’, section ‘Claim to Adjust Payments on Account’ (SAM1000)
  • issue the DMB version of the SA614 letter via SEES
  • update IDMS Action History.

Note: Claims to reduce made over the phone must not be accepted where an overpayment/repayment would be created.

Amount less than £250

If the amount is less than £250:

  • check that there are no outstanding returns
  • check that the ‘Last SA return required for year ending 5 April’ field on the Individual Signals screen in SA is completed. If not investigate the reasons for the work item entry, normally it is because the PCA signal is set.

If the PCA signal is inappropriately set, use SA function AMEND TAXPAYER SIGNALS to remove the signal and set the appropriate next action.

Where no returns are outstanding and the ‘Last SA return required’ signal is set and the amount is:

  • £32 or more, make one application before remitting if still unpaid
  • less than £32, remit the amount; for more information, see DMBM725000.

Payment not obtained

Where your actions are unsuccessful in obtaining payment consider the following.

  • Method of enforcement - see DMBM605000
  • Transferring the case to EIS - see DMBM685000
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) DMBM725000