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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: Third Party Debt Orders (TPDOs): TPDOs - what debts can and cannot be attached

Debts that can be attached

Debts that can be attached are:

  • sums in accounts with

    • commercial banks (including the National Savings Bank - special application procedures apply - see DMBM667150)
    • building societies
    • local authority savings banks (consult your manager before commencing enforcement against these)
    • a credit union (consult your manager before commencing enforcement)
  • rent due to the judgment debtor by a tenant
  • the ‘cash’ element of ISAs. (Since ISAs are individually tailored to a judgment debtor’s needs, they can comprise different cash and non-cash elements. The non-cash element is not attachable under a TPDO but can be subject to a charging order (DMBM667320). Consult your manager for advice as appropriate.)
  • Trade debts or money owed to the judgment debtor, but make sure that your prospects of recovering from the third party are better than from the judgment debtor. Consult your manager if you are in any doubt.

Debts that cannot be attached

The following debts cannot be attached

  • debts due to the judgment debtor jointly with anyone who is not a party to the judgment (for example a bank account in joint names)
  • a dividend held by a trustee or liquidator for distribution to creditors
  • seafarers’ wages
  • salaries accruing but not yet due
  • sums in an account in the name of the judgment debtor acting as a personal representative or a trustee.

Where you are unsure whether a debt is attachable or not, you should seek advice from your line management chain.