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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Summary warrant: Action following summary warrant returned by court: Charge to Pay

A charge to pay must be made in all instances before any type of diligence can be executed.

You will instruct the sheriff officer using the letter, SW200 to deliver the charge to pay together with a debt advice and information pack.

The cost of serving the charge to pay is recoverable. The sheriff officer will include the cost in the details of the debt listed on the charge to pay. If the debtor pays the liability excluding the charge fee you will write off the fee. However if the debtor does not respond to the charge to pay and you instruct the Sheriff Officer to carry out a subsequent diligence you should clear the costs, including the charge fee first from any payment received as a result of the diligence.

If the debt has changed (by way of payment, submission of returns and so on) between obtaining the warrant and service of the charge to pay, keep a further SA/BROCS printout with the papers showing the position of the debt (direct tax debt only as indirect tax debt will have statement of debt shown within their notes) as this will be required if the case is submitted to EIS at a later stage for bankruptcy action.

The charge to pay is a court form and will be delivered by hand by the sheriff officer and served

  • by personal service on the debtor or
  • on an individual resident at the premises or
  • on an employee.

If no-one is available to take delivery once the sheriff officer is satisfied that the debtor is at this address the charge to pay may be

  • posted through the letter box or
  • attached (and left) on the premises if no letter box is available.

If either of the last two means of delivery applies, the sheriff officer will issue a further copy of the charge to pay by first class post as both a courtesy and a safety net.

The sheriff officer will provide a Certificate of Execution which will detail the particulars of the actual service of the charge to pay and will supply information on any attachable assets.

The debtor has 14 days to make payment from the date of delivery of the charge to pay and no diligence can be taken during this time.

If following the 14 day period the debt remains unpaid and there has been no communication from the debtor you are able to proceed with executing the summary warrant by the most appropriate diligence.

Following a charge to pay diligence is competent for two years before another charge to pay needs to be delivered.