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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Debt and return pursuit: VAT: pre-enforcement action: response to demand for payment

Response to demand for payment

The most common responses to a demand for payment are that a:

  • return and/or payment is made
  • customer appeals or requests reconsideration of an assessment; for further details, please see ARTG3000 on reviews and appeals for indirect taxes 
  • time to pay is requested - for further details see DMBM800000 
  • customer contends that a return has been filed
  • customer contends that payment has been made
  • customer claims that the demand/campaign letter was not received.

Claim that return made

If the customer claims that the return has been filed, check VISION. If it is still shown as outstanding tell them they must file it online. When taxpayers go online to file their VAT returns any outstanding are displayed first for completion.

Obtain the following details to note on IDMS:

  • amount declared as due/repayable
  • date it was sent
  • to which office it was sent.

If the taxpayer is deregistered they may not be able to file online, see DMBM530920.

Claim that payment made

If the customer claims that payment has been made, check VISION. If it is still shown as outstanding, confirm:

  • the amount
  • where the payment was sent
  • how the payment was made; for example, cheque, bank giro or postal order.

If payment was made by cheque:

  • date of cheque
  • cheque number
  • bank sort code number
  • bank account number
  • date cleared through the bank
  • has the customer any record of clearance?

You should:

  • enter the above information onto a VAT 997 and
  • send it via Electronic Folder to 313MAP to trace the payment.

If payment was made by any other method, obtain as much information as possible.

Customer claims that the demand/campaign letter was not received

If a customer claims not to have received the demand letter explain what it said and advise you will issue another copy but payment should still be made now.

Where you consider such a claim is genuine you may want to consider giving the taxpayer reasonable time to arrange payment.