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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
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Enforcement action: country court proceedings: the defendant’s response to the claim: allocation to case management track

The case management tracking system

Most disputed claims in the county courts are subject to a ‘tracking’ system. This determines what actions need to be undertaken before the case can go for trial and the speed with which it will progress through the court. It can be a complex and time-consuming process if, for example, expert evidence needs to be presented or witnesses called.

CPR Practice Direction 7D (CPRPD7D) - exemption from tracking system

The Department has obtained a practice direction to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPRPD7D) for claims for:

  • income tax
  • corporation tax
  • capital gains tax
  • National Insurance contributions
  • interest, penalties and surcharge on income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax and National Insurance Contributions.

With effect from 6 April 2009 the practice direction was extended to include claims for:

  • student loans
  • VAT and interest and surcharges thereon
  • insurance premium tax and interest and surcharges thereon
  • stamp duty land tax and interest and surcharges thereon
  • the following environmental taxes:

    • landfill tax and interest and penalties thereon
    • aggregates levy and interest and penalties thereon
    • climate change levy and interest and penalties thereon
  • the following duties of customs & excise:

    • amusement machine licence duty and penalties thereon
    • air passenger duty and interest and penalties thereon
    • beer duty and penalties thereon
    • bingo duty and penalties thereon
    • cider and perry duty
    • excise and spirits duty
    • excise wine duty
    • gaming duty and penalties thereon
    • general betting duty
    • lottery duty and penalties thereon
    • REDS (Registered Excise Dealers and Shippers) duty
    • road fuel duty and penalties thereon
    • tobacco duty
    • wine and made-wine duty.

The effect of the practice direction is to exempt those cases from the allocation to track procedures. CPRPD7D provides that on the hearing date the court may dispose of the claim (enter judgment).

The court should therefore list a defended claim for such debts immediately for hearing.

If the court allocates an action by HMRC to a case management track

If the court allocates an HMRC action for a debt covered by the practice direction to a case management track, you should write immediately to the court manager drawing attention to CPRPD7D and ask for the case to be set down for hearing. You may find it helpful to enclose a copy of the practice direction.

If the court refuses your request, consider making an application for the court to strike out the defence either:

  • under the irrelevant defence/bare denial guidance (DMBM665900)
  • by applying for summary judgment (DMBM665960).

If either application is dismissed and your case is set down for judicial case management, you must comply with the court’s directions.

The court will require you to complete a directions questionnaire. If the court has not sent you this, you should download the relevant form, according to the track the case has been allocated to (see the table below), from the Form Finder page of the Courts and Tribunal Service’s website to complete.

Value of case Allocated to Directions questionnaire
     
Up to and including £10,000 Small claims track Form N180
Over £10,000 but not more than £25,000 Fast track Form N181
Over £25,000 Multi track Form N181

 

You should:

  • complete the directions questionnaire
  • attach your reply to the defence to it (together with certificates of debt)
  • file all the documents with the court at the same time in accordance with CPR15.8.

In your reply to the defence, you should ask for any amount admitted to be paid. You should ensure that you serve the defendant with a complete set of the documents filed with the court.

In your reply to the defence, you should ask for any amount admitted to be paid. You should ensure that you serve the defendant with a complete set of the documents filed with the court.

Fees

According to the track the case is allocated to, a fee is sometimes payable on filing the directions questionnaire. Details of the fee to be paid is shown in the following table.

Track Fee
   
Small claims track (£1,500 or less) Nil
Small claims track (more than £1,500) £40
Fast track claims £220
Multi track claims £220

 

Debts not included in CPRPD7D

Remember that CPRPD7D only applies to claims for the debts specified above. Where your claim is for a debt that is not included you will have to take separate action if your claim is defended (DMBM665960).

But for tax credits overpayments you should instead follow the guidance at DMBM665855.