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

HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
, see all updates

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: attachment of earnings orders (AEOs): how an attachment of earnings order works

When making an AEO, the district judge will specify both the:

  • normal deduction rate (the normal deduction rate is the amount of the weekly or monthly deductions to be made by the employer. The rate is specified in the attachment of earnings order.) and the
  • protected earnings rate (the amount below which the court considers that the judgment debtor’s earnings should not be reduced)

On each payday the employer must make the deduction provided the judgment debtor’s earnings for the particular pay period are sufficient to enable this to be done.

If the attachable earnings are more than the protected earnings, the employer must deduct from the attachable earnings the lesser of either the:

  • the normal deduction (see example A below)
  • the excess (see example B below).

If the attachable earnings are equal to or less than the protected earnings, the employer must not make a deduction (see example C below).

All amounts are per week.

Example A

Judgment debtor’s attachable earnings £200.00
   
Protected earnings rate £108.60
  £91.40
Normal deduction rate £50.00
  £41.40
The employer must pay:  
to the judgment debtor £108.60 + £41.40 £150.00
to the court £50.00
  £200.00

Example B

Judgment debtor’s attachable earnings £150.00
   
Protected earnings rate £108.60
  £41.40
Normal deduction rate £50.00
  £(8.60)
The employer must pay:  
to the judgment debtor £108.60
to the court £41.40
  £150.00

Example C

Judgment debtor’s attachable earnings £100.00
   
Protected earnings rate £108.60
  £(8.60)
The employer must pay to the judgment  
debtor £100.00

More than one AEO in force

Where more than one AEO is in force against the judgment debtor, the employer must deal firstly with any priority orders (in date order) then non-priority orders (also in date order). The first AEO would be dealt with as already described. Before operating any other AEO, the employer must reduce the attachable earnings by the amount deducted under each preceding order.