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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: distraint: carrying out a distraint: defaulter requests ‘time to pay’ (TTP) before you have levied

Distraint is a serious process and you should always levy distraint with the intention of completion by removal and sale. Distraint should never be used as a means of securing a ‘time to pay’ arrangement.

If the defaulter asks for time to pay the debt, at any stage before you have begun to levy (see DMBM655840 ‘Commencement of levy’), you may

  • accept provided

    • they have not previously been given an arrangement for this debt and
    • you consider the proposal for settlement satisfactory, or
  • decline if you decide that the request for time to pay is not acceptable, in which case you should levy distraint (DMBM655830).

Where you accept a TTP arrangement

  • do not levy distraint
  • tell the defaulter that if the arrangement is not maintained you will

    • cancel it and return to distrain
    • allow no further concessions
  • confirm this in writing.

If the debtor defaults, cancel the arrangement and levy distraint (DMBM655830).

Indirect taxes

If you accept a TTP arrangement which includes indirect taxes you should pass the case back to the DMU

  • giving details of the arrangement (using the outcome report form) and
  • advising that the papers should be returned to you with any new debts if the defaulter does not comply).

Once a case is referred to the DTO you retain responsibility for considering any TTP requests but only the indirect tax DTO can monitor that payments are reaching the systems as the debt is not on IDMS.