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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: summary proceedings: enforcing magistrates' orders: distress warrant unsuccessful

If the duty remains unpaid because the distress warrant either

  • has been executed but insufficient effects were realised to satisfy the debt and a balance of £100 or more is outstanding, or
  • cannot be executed for any other reason (except in cases where the debtor has moved away), for example because there are insufficient effects

check for any other debts.

Other debts outstanding not subject to SP action

If the distraint warrant has proved unsuccessful, do not take SP action for any other debts.

Where there are other debts outstanding, review their potential for county court action (DMBM605450).

You should use the number of uncleared non HMRC (CCJs) as a guide when deciding whether county court action is going to be effective. But it is important that the information is considered in the context of the taxpayer’s known profile and current circumstances.

If cases are not suitable for local enforcement action and the total amount (including that of the SP action) is over £2000, you may transfer them to EIS but only after specific local activity has been carried out - generally to confirm that local enforcement has not been or is unlikely to be successful.

No other debt

Where there are no other debts outstanding, refer the case to the higher debt management officer for advice as to how to proceed.