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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
, see all updates

Time To Pay: Time To Pay requests: initial considerations

In all Time To Pay (TTP) requests you must initially establish if the customer is a “won’t pay” or a “can’t pay” case, see DMBM800050.

You will also need to consider how much the customer owes HMRC in total. If the customer reveals that they have another HMRC debt you should follow the guidance at DMBM802030.

You should also establish if the customer is likely to be due a repayment from HMRC. Where the customer is due a repayment from HMRC we should arrange to set-off this repayment against the debt. As a matter of principle we cannot make a repayment whilst allowing the customer TTP.

For more information about repayments and set-off, see DMBM802040.

After you have established how much the customer owes you will need to establish the following

  • why the customer can’t pay
  • what they have done to raise money themselves
  • how they intend to pay the debt and how have they worked out they can afford this
  • what changes are they making to ensure that they can pay future liabilities on time.

How in depth you question the customer and how much information you obtain will vary based upon

  • how much money is owed
  • how long is requested, and
  • how compliant the customer has been previously.

DMBM802200, DMBM802210, DMBM802220 and DMBM802230 detail the information that should be gathered in order to decide whether or not to agree a TTP. If the case is higher risk because, for example, the customer’s payment history is poor or the debt is long overdue then you should collect as much information as necessary to fully consider the request.

The length of time requested is measured from the latter of the date of request or the due date for payment. When considering how long the customer needs to repay the debt we will also consider how overdue the money is. Where a customer approaches us before the due date for payment we are likely to look at their request more favourably than a customer who has requested TTP after we have contacted them when payment is overdue. Where a debt has been outstanding for some time we must consider why the customer hasn’t approached us earlier and scrutinise their request.

Where the TTP request is made in advance of the due date we are unlikely to be able to consider the request unless the accounting period to which the request relates has ended. In these cases the customer is unlikely to know exactly how much will be outstanding and they are also likely to have time to fully explore other options to paying the debt and it will be too early for us to judge the customers ability to pay their anticipated debt.

VAT Annual Accounting customers

TTP should not be negotiated for annual accounting instalments. When speaking to a customer about a VAT debt you should check the R1 screen on VISION to see if the customer is registered for annual accounting.

If a customer on the annual accounting scheme contacts DMB to discuss TTP on an instalment they should be advised to phone the Annual Accounting and Group Variations team (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) .

For further information about annual accounting refer to DMBM531210.

VAT Notices of Requirement

Where VAT Security officers have issued a Notice of Requirement (NOR) to give security for VAT you must not agree TTP without first discussing the case with the VAT security team.

Identifying cases

You can see if Security (SI) have an interest in a case by checking the R1 screen on VISION. If SI have an interest a 492 review code will be set.