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

HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: taking control of goods (TCoG): taking control of goods (including goods on the highway)

You should explain to the debtor, authorised person or person in apparent authority that in the absence of full payment of the principal debt, interest and fees, you will be taking control of, and listing the debtor’s goods. Tell the debtor, authorised person or person in apparent authority (within the limits of confidentiality), that your visit has created additional fees (in accordance with the scale set out in the Notice of Enforcement).

If payment is not made, seize the goods by one of the methods shown below.

Methods of taking control

You can take control of goods by:

  • securing goods on the premises where:
    • found in a cupboard, room or outbuilding
    • the whole of the premises was occupied solely for trade or business
    • part of the premises is used for trade or business if applicable
  • securing goods on the highway (in other words, immobilising the goods; generally a vehicle)
  • leaving someone in possession, but only where they are not residential premises
  • removing the goods and securing them elsewhere; in other words, immediate removal
  • entering into a Controlled Goods Agreement (CGA).

HMRC’s preferred method is entering into a CGA where the debtor or anyone who may sign a CGA in accordance with the regulations is present.

Circumstances when goods on the highway cannot be taken into control

You must not take control of goods on the highway where:

  • they are animals or livestock (including cattle, sheep, pigs, horses and poultry)
  • you believe them to be hazardous goods or materials (this includes nuclear matter, radioactive waste and any other article or substance that has been and remains contaminated)

nor can you take control of vehicles containing any of the above.

Immobilising goods on the highway

It is possible for enforcement agents to immobilise goods on the highway but HMRC’s preferred option is to seek to obtain a CGA or carry out an instant removal in preference to immobilisation. If, in exceptional circumstances, you feel the goods should be immobilised (as entering into a CGA or immediate removal is not a viable option) then contact your manager for advice.