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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Debt and return pursuit: PAYE recovery and associated processes: Regulation 72 (5) directions: Making a decision: consideration by the higher officer

Before making a direction, you must be satisfied that:

  • there is evidence that the employer took reasonable care to operate PAYE correctly
  • the underdeduction was due to an error made in good faith.

Both statements have to be satisfied for a direction to be appropriate.

If one or both of these statements are not satisfied then you must issue a refusal notice to the employer.

Employer’s explanation

Give careful consideration to the employer’s explanation of the underdeduction that it is convincing and includes all the relevant facts to show exactly how the error arose.

A direction may be appealed by the employee if you make a decision based on an inadequate explanation or missing facts.

‘Sufficient evidence’ will not usually be either conclusive or explicit. So you will have to consider all the facts and explanations impartially before reaching a conclusion that any other person looking at the same facts would find reasonable.

You should record on the case papers all the relevant factors you have taken into account and the reasons for your decision that a direction notice is or is not appropriate. This is particularly important in the event of any subsequent appeal.

See DMBM523160 onwards for appeals.