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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Time To Pay: Time To Pay requests: written requests for Time To Pay

Written requests for Time To Pay (TTP)

Where possible all TTP requests should be discussed over the telephone. This enables us to obtain more detailed information from the customer and allows us to question and make a more informed decision about their proposals. Where a customer phones to request TTP they should not be advised to make the request in writing.

Some customers may write a letter to request TTP. When you receive a letter requesting TTP you should contact the customer by phone to discuss their proposals. This will allow you to confirm their total HMRC debt and ask sufficient questions to make sure that the customer meets the conditions of TTP at DMBM800040.

Debts below £100,000

Where a customer owes less than £100,000 and is requesting TTP of 3 months or less in writing then you can accept the request without phoning the customer providing their letter gives clear reasons for the request and based on their previous compliance you are satisfied that the request is genuine. The TTP request needs to be agreed at the correct authority grade, see DMBM803510, and an agreement letter should be issued.

Where the customer is requesting more than 3 months you will need to phone them to obtain more information before deciding whether TTP can be agreed

Debts of £100,000 and above

Where a written request is received for a debt of £100,000 or over you will need to phone the customer to obtain the information as detailed in DMBM802220 or DMBM802230.

Where requests can’t be dealt with over the telephone

Very infrequently you will deal with exceptional cases where it is not possible or appropriate to discuss TTP over the telephone (for instance cases where a disability is involved).

It is extremely unlikely that you will not be able to deal with a customer over the telephone that has a debt in excess of £100,000 or a customer that has a corporate/business tax debt.

In 3 month or less cases

These can be agreed at the correct authority level provided that the authorising officer is satisfied that there is a clear need for TTP and that the request is genuine. Where you require further information you should send a letter to the customer detailing what information you need to fully consider their request.

Over 3 months requested

Where over three months is requested you should write to the customer:

  • asking if there are other HMRC debts
  • asking the reasons why payment can’t be made (if not already made clear)
  • providing the 36A1 Income and expenditure form (found on SEES Forms and Letters) for the customer to complete and return.

You need to set a deadline for the customer to provide you with this information and make it clear that if they do not do so then debt recovery action will continue.

Note: The corporate debt questionnaire and the negotiating frameworks should not be issued to any customers. The 36A1 should not be issued to customer except in exceptional circumstances (outlined above).