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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: attachment of earnings orders (AEOs): reviewing the progress of an AEO

You must keep the progress of cases under review. In addition to following up any apparent failure to pay, you should also consider other developments, for example the order may be yielding less than expected because a priority order or a consolidated order has been made since.

Bear in mind that because the judgment debtor is in employment, it is unlikely that further liability will arise and that any payment, however small, improves the position as far as the county court judgment is concerned. However you should bear in mind that the overall position may be worsening due to interest accruing on debts included in the judgment.

If you feel that an increase to the order may be appropriate, consider applying to the court to vary the order (DMBM667600).

If there has not been a payment within the last six months, or the claimant considers that the AEO is no longer productive, pass the papers to the higher debt manager who will advise what action to take next.

If the judgment debtor is now self-employed, apply to have the AEO discharged and enforce the judgment by any other means. If the position is unclear, consider applying for an order to obtain information (DMBM666600).

Attachment of earnings orders against two or more judgment debtors

Where you have obtained attachment of earnings orders against two or more judgment debtors in respect of the same judgment debt (such as in partnership cases or joint tax credit overpayment cases) you must keep a careful check on payments to make sure that an overpayment does not arise. When you have received full settlement of the judgment debt you must notify the court immediately to have all the orders revoked.