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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
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Enforcement action: county court proceedings: attachment of earnings orders (AEOs): AEOs - judgment debtor's response on form N56

The judgment debtor must either pay to you the balance of the judgment debt and fees, including the fee for the application for the AEO itself, or complete and return form N56 to the court within 8 days of the date of service.

If payment in full is made, there is no need for the judgment debtor to return form N56.

Form N56

Form N56 (Form for Replying to an Attachment of Earnings Application) requires the judgment debtor to provide details of his or her employment, income, expenditure, savings, other debts and so on, together with an offer of payment to be deducted from his or her pay.

If the judgment debtor returns a completed form N56 to the court, a court officer will, if there is sufficient information to do so

  • make an attachment of earnings order without a hearing
  • send the order to the judgment debtor’s employer
  • send copies of the order and form N56 to both parties.

If the N56 does not give sufficient information for the court officer to make an attachment of earnings order, the matter will be referred to the district judge who will either

  • determine the application and make an order or
  • list the case for hearing.

Debtor asks for suspended order

The form N56 also provides for the judgment debtor to ask that the AEO be suspended on promise that they will pay voluntarily without their employer being ordered to make deductions from pay. The judgment debtor has to provide a valid reason for the application to suspend.

Judgment debtor fails to return form N56

If the judgment debtor fails to return form N56 the court will serve him or her personally with form N61 (Order for Production of Statement of Means). The judgment debtor must ensure that the statement of means reaches the court office within 8 days of receipt of the order, or pay in full.

If the judgment debtor still fails to return form N56, or to pay, the court will serve him or her personally with form N63 (Failure to provide Statement of Means). This orders the judgment debtor to attend court at an appointed time to give good reason why he or she should not be sent to prison for 14 days or fined up to £250. The N63 also advises that if the debt is paid in full or the statement of means is returned to the court immediately, the judgment debtor may not have to attend the court.

If the failure continues the court will make an order for the judgment debtor to be arrested and brought before the court.

The court takes all these actions without any need for action by you.