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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: distraint: carrying out a distraint: place for distraint

Place for distraint

Distraint can normally be levied at either the personal (in limited company cases the registered office) or the business address, though you should use the business address where there is one.

In particular trades or industries such as labour providers it is permissible to levy on assets, such as a vehicle on site, where there are no known or accessible premises. You must still be satisfied that the ‘provider’ owns the assets.

Simultaneous levy at more than one site

You may levy simultaneously at more then one location where a defaulter has goods in several places, for example a chain of shops, but all assets should be aggregated and listed under a single form C204 or C204A.

Cases of doubt

In cases of doubt concerning the ‘place for distraint’ contact your manager for advice.

Distraint outside home area

If you intend carrying out distraint at an address in another debt management office’s area, advise that office as a matter of courtesy.

Class 2 NIC

Distraint should normally take place at the business address.

S121A(10) Social Security Administration Act 1992 for England and Wales and S 115A(10) Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland) Act 1992 for Northern Ireland provides that a collector may distrain at a private dwelling house only where

  • they have reasonable grounds to believe a business is being carried on there and
  • the trade or business is not being carried on from other premises.

The term “dwelling house” applies equally to a house, garden and drive not just the actual house itself. It does not apply to items situated outside the boundaries e.g. a vehicle parked on the public highway