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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Pre-enforcement: preparing a case for enforcement: Quality Gateway checks for direct taxes: purpose

Purpose of the Quality Gateway (QG) checks

The QG checks require caseworkers to take into account the available sources of information and intelligence held about the customer before taking enforcement proceedings.

The purpose of the checks is to:

  • validate the debt/return
  • identify any information about the debtor that may affect progression of a case
  • identify missing information and ensure that this is obtained before enforcement or insolvency action is taken (for example correct business address, telephone numbers, director details)
  • cross reference and link other head of duty direct tax debts (that is before checking for indirect tax debts) and if appropriate
  • clear the appropriate debts without costly enforcement action where there is no prospect of recovery

This will ensure that:

  • only suitable cases are selected for recovery action and
  • you can determine correct action to effectively progress the case see DMBM605400.

The QG checks should highlight any gaps or conflicts in the information already held that need to be resolved. You may need to contact the customer again by phone or call before you can make an informed decision on the next course of action.

Tax avoidance cases

Normally the aim is to ensure that all debts selected for recovery action are ‘clean’, in other words debts where there is no open appeal or enquiry. But in cases where avoidance arrangements or an avoidance scheme has been used you may need to take recovery action even though there are open points under dispute.

In such cases the avoidance caseworker will previously have set the ‘Enquiry’ signal on the SA record and have noted their contact details on SA Notes. They should also have made a note as to whether recovery action can be taken even though the signal is set or if they want DMB staff to contact them prior to commencing action. You should liaise with the avoidance caseworker to confirm that recovery action should be taken as appropriate.

Timing for QG checks

The QG checks are to be made before you start any form of legal action. Work will arrive on IDMS in two ways, either:

  • on pre-enforcement IDMS caseworker lists; that is when a new case arrives on a head of duty (HOD) work list, such as:

    • C/W SA
    • C/W PAYE
    • C/WPAYE UP
    • C/W CT
    • C/W New Business
    • C/W Misc, C/W Daily penalty
  • through the IDMS automated process functions; it can arrive as a new case, directly onto an enforcement caseworker role, such as:

    • C/W distraint
    • C/W summary proceedings including Northern Ireland
    • C/W county court proceedings (for England & Wales)
    • C/W summary warrant (for Scotland) or
    • C/W Quant.

Cases received at the DTO are to go through the checks when the new case first appears on a DTO work list.

It is vitally important that staff review all the available information to validate the debt and link/cross reference to other HOD debts for the debtor before deciding on the next course of action so as to avoid unnecessary and costly activity later on. For more information on this see DMBM600000.

We would not usually repeat the initial checks as the case moves through the recovery process, or if further items are added to the original debt unless there is evidence that circumstances may have changed, or 6 months or more has passed since the initial checks were done.

We do however need to make sure that at every stage of the process, the case is ready and that it is appropriate to move the case on.

The criteria for each path can be found at:

DMBM605440 Distraint criteria

DMBM605450 CCP criteria

DMBM685210 Insolvency proceedings criteria