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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Debt and return pursuit: miscellaneous charges: Personal Liability Notices

HMRC can recover the total outstanding National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from the directors or office holders of a company where the company’s failure to pay appears to be due to fraud or neglect.


Section 121C of the Social Security Administration Act 1992.

The authority for HMRC to raise a Personal Liability Notice is provided by paragraph (1) (h) of Section 8 of the Social Security (Transfer of Functions, etc) Act 1999. This enables any authorised officer of the Board of HMRC to decide any question as to the issue and content of the PLN.


Prior to any decision being made by HMRC to issue a PLN, a thorough enquiry must be undertaken to establish the facts and circumstances behind the company’s failure to pay the contributions due.

If there is evidence to show that ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that the failure to pay the deductions due was because of the fraud or neglect of an individual officer of the company, a Personal Liability Notice will be issued to the culpable director or office holder. These charges are raised by the Personal Liability Notice Team, part of Specialist Investigations, and are accounted for on SAFE.

See NIM12200 for further information.

SAFE action

SAFE will issue requests for payment and if unpaid the debt will appear on the SAFE DMB Local Action worklist.


You may contact or write to the debtor for payment but before taking recovery action.


Refer any queries to your manager for advice.