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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: distraint: introduction to distraint: other roles and responsibilities in distraint

The distraint officer

The distraint officer has immediate responsibility for the detailed conduct of distraint work and:

  • examines each case before visiting and ensures a risk assessment is conducted
  • checks for, and links, any other debts for the same customer
  • ensures, where the duty has been delegated to you, that the appropriate selection criteria is met
  • makes distraint calls
  • levies distraint if payment is not tendered
  • makes any necessary further calls
  • ensures a report of each call is immediately passed to the office manager
  • ensures the case is passed to the auctioneer on the 6th day following the distraint (unless, exceptionally, you have agreed to wait for late submission of SA or VAT returns in which case it may be extended to 14 days).

Where Field Force is involved some of these duties will be under the supervision of the FF Support Team leader.

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The debt management officer

A debt management officer as part of the support team may:

  • deal with any clerical work in the preparation and follow up of distraint cases (e.g. checking for combined debts)
  • accompany a distraint officer on distraint calls.