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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: fees, costs and charges: claim for costs against HMRC

Grade of officer

All claims for costs should be dealt with under the direct and close supervision of a higher debt manager or above.

Claim for costs

Occasionally, a debtor, or their agent or solicitor, will seek costs from the Department on the basis that the claimant’s action was not justified. You should treat any claim for costs on its merits but bear in mind that if a claim has been discontinued formally (DMBM665970), the claimant is legally liable for the other side’s costs up to that point in accordance with CPR38.6(1).

If you receive such a claim and accept that it is reasonable and justified, do not challenge it.

Refusing or challenging the claim

If you think the claim for costs is unjustified, you should write to the debtor (or their agent or solicitor as appropriate) and explain why.

If you think the claim for costs is justified, but the amount claimed is excessive, you should:

  • contact the debtor (or their agent or solicitor as appropriate)
  • try to reach agreement on the amount to be paid.

In difficult cases, contact the EIS Bradford CCP Technical Team (Debt Management Bradford).

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Making payment

You should:

  • make payment through the ERP system
  • prepare a letter addressed to the court manager, the defendant or the defendant’s solicitor (as appropriate). The letter should say that ‘a payable order in full and final settlement of the claim for costs in the matter will be issued separately by Finance, Worthing’.
  • get the letter signed by the higher debt manager or officer of equivalent grade
  • keep a copy in the office with supporting documentation for audit purposes.