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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Debt and return pursuit: Miscellaneous charges: National Minimum Wage Penalties (NMWP): Enforcement - Northern Ireland


NMWP work items raised prior to April 2009 are subject to the national Minimum wage Act 1998, Section 21 (5). This allows HMRC to take action to pursue the penalty using Civil procedure Rule 70.5.

On 6 April 2009 the national Minimum Wage Act 1998 was amended by the Employment Act 2008 by replacing Section 21 (5) with section 19E. Section 19E states:

A financial penalty under a notice of underpayment -

In Northern Ireland, shall be recoverable, if the county court so orders, as if it were payable under an order of that court.

NMWP should be enforced as follows:


Up to £2,000 Enforced via Small Claims Court NI NI Debt Technical Offices
Over £2,000 High Court proceedings via the Crown Solicitors Office  
  NI Debt Technical Offices    
  Insolvency cases only As per existing guidance EIS Edinburgh


Up to £2,000 Small Claims Court

The Small Claims Court is a part of County Court and can be used in Northern Ireland to enforce NMWP up to £2,000.00.

Follow the existing local procedures for referring this case to the small claims court or for full details of procedures for using small claims court see full details on the NI Court Service site.

Most cases that go to the small claims court are undefended but those that re defended require the DMB case worker along with the taxpayer to attend the small claims court in Belfast. Before attending the DMB caseworker must obtain a copy of the file from the NMW Compliance Teams.

All official papers used to pursue the debt must be produced and the judge will decide the outcome of the case on the basis of an informal discussion with the parties present.

Judgment is recorded by the Court and is equivalent to a Court judgment.

If the debt remains unpaid after 14 days you should commence recovery action through the Enforcement of Judgments office on the basis of a Certificate of Award from the small claims court.

Actions to take for penalties over £2,000

For penalties over £2,000 immediately on receipt of the work item use IDMS transfer ownership to Field Force for a Personal Call:

  • Set Proposed Next Action personal Call
  • Next Action date today plus one day.

Field Force should make immediate arrangements for a personal call.

If the personal call is unsuccessful immediately transfer back to the appropriate DTO.

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If personal call is unsuccessful

NMWP greater than £2,000.00 can be enforced by the Crown Solicitors through the High Court in Northern Ireland.

These circumstances are already explained in the Inheritance Tax manual follow the same process for NMWP.

IHTM38433 explains actions needed before you refer the case to the Crown Solicitors Office

IHTM38434 onwards explains how to refer the case to the Crown Solicitors and what happens next.