This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: distraint: carrying out a distraint: completing the distraint inventory

  • make
  • model
  • type
  • serial or registration number
  • colour
  • weight
  • size
  • capacity
  • number.

This is particularly important because someone else will invariably have to identify and remove the goods. Photographs will also help with this (DMBM655840).

Broad descriptions such as `Suite of furniture and sufficient goods to cover’ or `All stock in warehouse’ are unacceptable.

If the defaulter is registered for VAT, insert their VAT registration number on both copies of form C204 in the space provided.

If you have insufficient space on the C204

  • enter on both copies of form C204 - `See continuation sheet’
  • prepare a continuation sheet on plain paper (in duplicate) and sign each page
  • make sure the defaulter’s name, address, reference and the date of levy are clearly legible.

Make sure that you see the items listed and attach a copy of the schedule or stocklist to each copy of form C204.

Stock lists

Sometimes a defaulter may volunteer a stock list or schedule of effects.

This might be where the debtor may not wish you to closely inspect certain goods because, for example, a director does not wish the staff to know HMRC is seizing the assets or it may be impractical to gain access to a piece of equipment to check a serial number.

You may accept the proposal if you are satisfied that:

  • it is in good faith
  • the debtor accepts

    • this concession is at their express request and
    • that seizure has taken place and
  • the debtor endorses the inventory to that effect.

But remember that you should still see the items and take photographs of their location for later access by the auctioneer if the debt is not paid.

Do not, in any circumstances, suggest use of stock lists yourself. It should be treated as exceptional and at the debtor’s request only. It is not a way of speeding up the levy.