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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: distraint: after the levy: the auction sale

Direct tax legislation requires that distrained goods must be sold at public auction. Although indirect tax Regulations do not make this same requirement you should instruct your auctioneer to sell distrained goods by public auction in all cases.

Instruct the auctioneer to stop the sale once sufficient money had been realised. You must still make sure that no more goods are sold than are necessary to pay the debt and all the costs (which, of course, may be substantial).

Attendance at sale

There is no longer a requirement for you or the office manager to attend every sale, but the office manager should attend sales periodically for monitoring purposes (DMBM655050 and DMBM656130).

If a member of HMRC attends the auction, on no account must they bid for any of the goods that HMRC has distrained upon.