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

HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Summary proceedings: SP summons returned undelivered

When a summons served by post is returned undelivered, you need to obtain a new address and also to consider whether the summons was correctly served at the address you have used.

New address found

New address in the same court’s area

If the debtor’s new address is in the same court’s area and you are still within the time limits for SP

  • in England and Wales if there is time before the hearing date post the summons to the new address
  • in Northern Ireland send a fresh form 33 showing the new address to the court for service.

If there is insufficient time before the original hearing, you should write to the debtor at the new address and tell them that a summons has been issued and unless payment is made within 7 days it will be reissued for hearing.

If payment is not received

  • arrange a new hearing date and
  • post the summons to the new address (England and Wales) or
  • issue form 33 to the court (Northern Ireland).

New address in a different court’s area

If the debtor lives outside the original court’s area but you can take SP in another court in your area

  • withdraw the case from the original court
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • start fresh proceedings in the new court.

If the debtor has moved outside your office boundary, you should transfer the debt to the appropriate office.

Summons issued to wrong address

If HMRC had information about a new address before you issued the summons, the summons has been issued incorrectly. You should

  • withdraw the complaint by writing to the court
  • write off the costs
  • check that the case remains in time for SP and
  • start a new action when you have a new address.

Summons issued correctly to last known address

If there is no information to suggest that the address used on the summons was incorrect, the summons has been issued correctly. The action you take then will depend on whether you know the debtor’s new address.

When a debtor has moved away but you do not discover this until after you have obtained an order, take the action in DMBM660330.