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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: distraint: after the levy: actions following the levy


The following paragraphs tell you about the process of passing the case to an auctioneer once 5 days have elapsed following the levy (DMBM656110).

They also advise you of problems that may be encountered post-levy, both before and after the involvement of your auctioneer, such as 3r d party claims or insolvency.


The higher debt manager is still responsible for the whole process of distraint even though the case has been handed to an auctioneer. However the actions of removal, appraisal and sale are always carried out by professional firms. This is in order to

  • speed up the flow of revenue to the Exchequer by arranging completion of distraints by sale at the earliest opportunity
  • save costs by removing HMRC staff’s direct involvement in attending removals (except for monitoring purposes)
  • use auctioneers’ professional skills and facilities (such as storage) to improve realisations and avoid cancellation charges by third party contractors.