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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: distraint: costs and accounting: paying distraint costs to the bailiff or auctioneer

Pay over distraint costs due to the bailiff or auctioneer as appropriate.

Paying the bailiff’s excess travelling expenses

If payment of bailiff car expenses in excess of the rates in HR43206 are authorised you should:

  • pay the bailiff through ERP
  • add VAT to the payments where the bailiff is a `taxable person’
  • include details of the payments in the monthly statement to the bailiff
  • retain the bailiff’s receipt and the higher debt manager’s authority.

Statement of account

You may find it helpful to send this statement with the auctioneer’s statement on the same day the input is made. Prepare it in triplicate on headed letter paper.

Where the bailiff does not use their own car for distraint work, exclude references to mileage allowance. When you have prepared the statement for the month

  • calculate the total amount due to be paid to the bailiff in each case
  • keep a record of the date and amount you pay the bailiff
  • make sure that that total amount agrees with the total distraint costs shown in the monthly statement to the bailiff.

If the cheque includes mileage allowance, keep a record of the total amount of the cheque and the amount of mileage allowance included.

On the same day

  • arrange for a cheque for the total amount, including any mileage allowance due, to be paid through ERP
  • provide the inputting officer with details of the appropriate NSV and nominal codes to be used (click here for the codes to use).
  • send two copies of the monthly statement to the bailiff
  • retain the third copy in your official records
  • B/F for an acknowledgement, which is required as a supporting document to ERP.

When you receive the acknowledgment, retain it as instructed in the Finance Manual under Operating the Financial Systems, Local Office Funding Account and Petty Cash (Information) then ‘retention of records’.

Payments at the end of each month

On the last working day of each month, except October, you should pay the bailiff or auctioneer (through ERP using `immediate payment terms’) all the costs incurred during the month (except in October or November as below), that is

  • the levy and WP fee for each case where you levied distraint accompanied by a bailiff
  • the AF for each case where one is due
  • any mileage allowance due
  • any claim for charges and expenses for appraisal, removal and storage of goods (whether or not a bailiff was present when you levied).

Remember to add VAT to these charges where appropriate.

Payments at the end of October and November

In October you must process the payment through ERP by no later than 4pm on the last Friday of the Account (which may not be the last working day) and include the payment with the October figures.

If you incur costs (that is, you levy distraint or decide to pay an AF) after you have paid the bailiff for October but before the last working day in October, include the payment with the November figures.