Beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Debt and return pursuit: contract settlements: CSU action - reviewing the case

Although you will be primarily responsible for clearing the contract settlement debt you will need to take account of other debts before attempting to contact the customer. This is particularly important if you are going to negotiate a time to pay arrangement or where there are substantial other debts.

You will need to review IDMS Action History and DTR for all outstanding debts and returns to determine the appropriate strategy before attempting to contact the customer.

In certain circumstances you will have to obtain copies of the letters if offer and acceptance from compliance before contacting the customer (DMBM565080).

Large Business Unit (LBU) cases

If you receive any work items where the IDMS Taxpayer Record Ownership is shown as 309800 you should immediately transfer ownership of the Work Item to 309800.

Deceased cases

If the customer is deceased you should:

  • transfer IDMS work item ownership to the Estates and Trusts office
  • check whether the IDMS Taxpayer Record is owned by the Estates and Trusts office and if not;
  • contact the owning OU to arrange appropriate transfer of the record.

Welsh Language cases

If the Welsh Language signal is set on IDMS you should transfer the case to the Welsh Language unit.

Old cases

England and Wales

In England and Wales only, the Limitation Act 1980 provides that recovery action for debts should commence within six years from the debt becoming payable. Because contract settlements are not tax debts they are subject to the Limitation Act. Therefore enforcement proceedings in the county court must be taken within six years of the original due date of the liability.


In Scotland the Prescription & Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973 provides that liability for payment will prescribe five years after the last effective action.

All cases

Some of the contract settlements transferred to you could be a number of years old. So it is important that you deal with these as quickly as possible otherwise you will have no effective enforcement action if the customer does not pay as limitation applies.

It is important that you do not dismiss cases just because action has not been taken as the date for limitation may be advanced by a number of means. If you find such a case you should initially refer it to your manager.