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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: judgment summonses: inadmissible evidence and wilful neglect or refusal to pay

Inadmissible evidence

Information obtained from the judgment debtor under any form of compulsion is not admissible in evidence under a judgment summons, because of the possibility of self-incrimination. This restriction does not extend to information provided as a statutory obligation on the part of all taxpayers, such as on their tax returns.

If you have issued an order to obtain information from the judgment debtor, you must not issue a judgment summons afterwards using the information obtained at that hearing. You may still issue a judgment summons, but the evidence you provide in support of it must be drawn entirely from other sources.

Information held in the judgment debtor’s tax file and that has been provided in confidence by a third party as an informer or a covert human intelligence source (CHIS) should not be used as evidence, unless the amount at stake would justify such action and it is not possible to present evidence of means in any other way. If you feel that this course of action may be appropriate, you should refer the papers to the EIS Bradford CCP Technical Team (Debt Management Bradford) immediately for advice.

But you may use information provided by an employer, an accountant or agent, acting on the judgment debtor’s behalf, or provided by banks or building societies as part of their normal obligation to provide information to HMRC under the Taxes Acts (information held on the TPI Datamart has all been provided as part of this obligation).

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Wilful neglect or refusal to pay

Neglect or refusal to pay is wilful if the judgment debtor has the means to pay but has not approached you or the court about it after proper notice has been given. In order to prove this you may need to satisfy the court that the judgment debtor’s address is correct and that notices and letters have come to their attention.