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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: Taking control of goods (TCOG): General purpose and responsibility of the enforcement agent


The main purpose of a ‘taking control’ visit is to obtain payment or come to a satisfactory ‘time to pay’ arrangement. However, when the enforcement agent (EA) calls, if payment is not made in full (which must include the accrued fees), the debtor’s goods can be seized (even if a satisfactory time to pay arrangement can be agreed).

Responsibility of the enforcement agent

Only an enforcement agent (EA) may take control of goods and sell them under an enforcement power. An individual may only act as an enforcement agent if he either:

  • holds a certificate issued by a judge
  • is exempt
  • acts in the presence and under the direction of a person who holds a certificate or who is exempt.

An officer of Revenue and Customs is exempt from certification by virtue of Section 63 (3)(b) TCEA07.

The EA who takes control of goods may not necessarily be the agent who sees the action through to completion. The next stage may be continued by a separate EA.