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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Summary Warrant: Money attachments: How money attachment works

Removal of Money Attachment

The Sheriff Officer must attach and remove money from the premises; the value of which shall not exceed the sum in the charge, plus interest and expenses until the money attachment ceases to have effect (see Termination of Money Attachment below).

Presumption of Ownership

The Sheriff Officer may when executing a money attachment assume that the debtor owns, solely or in common with a third party, any money found in the place where the attachment is executed.

Schedule of Money Attachment

At the time of the money attachment the Sheriff Officer prepares a schedule detailing the type and value of the money attachment. The debtor will be provided with a copy.

Report of Money Attachment

Within fourteen days of the execution of the money attachment the Sheriff Officer makes a report to the Sheriff and issues copies to the debtor/creditor/any third party. The report must specify

  • the money attached;
  • the value of that money:
  • whether any cash in a currency other than sterling was attached and, if so the exchange rate used; and any commission incurred, in converting it into sterling;
  • whether any person has asserted that any money attached is not owned by the debtor

(or is owned in common by the debtor and a third party)

  • whether the value of any money has been realised;
  • whether any money attached has been released.

Release of Money Attachment

We may apply on the prescribed form (within fourteen days of the Sheriff Officer’s report) to the Sheriff for a payment order. The application must be copied to the debtor, Sheriff Officer and any third party. If there is no opposition to the application, the Sheriff will make a payment order. Where the application is opposed, the Sheriff will allow all parties to make representations or hold a hearing. In these circumstances, obtain guidance from your manager.

Effect of Payment Order

A payment order authorises the Sheriff to

  • realise the value of money attached; and
  • dispose of the proceeds of the money attachment by

    • retaining such amount as necessary to meet the fees and outlays of the officer,
    • paying to the creditor the remainder of those proceeds so far as necessary to meet the sum recoverable by the money attachment; and
    • paying to the debtor any surplus remaining.

The Sheriff in certain circumstances may decide that the money attachment is unduly harsh to the debtor and restrict all or part of the money attached. The Sheriff can release up to a maximum of £1,000 from the attachment.