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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: attachment of earnings orders (AEOs): operating the AEO

CAPS (the Centralised Attachments of Earnings Payment System) based at Northampton will send the employer a copy of the attachment of earnings order on form N60. From the next payday following receipt of the order the employer must make the deductions as ordered by the court and send them to CAPS, who will send you payment by cheque.

Employers are entitled to deduct £1 for their administration costs whenever they make a deduction under a court order (even if this reduces the judgment debtor’s income below the protected earnings rate).

Payments under an attachment of earnings order not received

Employers are required to send the deductions to the court at regular intervals as dictated by the AEO. CAPS will normally issue 2 reminder letters if payment is not made.

If you have not received

  • the first payment within three months of the making of the order or
  • a later payment within two months of the previous payment and you have received no explanation for the non-payment,

you should contact CAPS to find out the reason.

Do not contact either the judgment debtor or the employer yourself. It is CAPS’ responsibility to investigate non-payment.

CAPS may know the reason for non-payment (for example, the debtor’s attachable earnings may currently be less than the protected earnings rate). If, however, they can offer no explanation you should ask them to investigate the reason for non-payment and inform you of the outcome. The employer may be required to attend court and explain the failure to comply.

Interest on payments received under an AEO

You are entitled to charge interest on late payment of interest-bearing debts until the date of receipt of the payment (TMA1970/S70A).