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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Time To Pay: reviewing proposals: what do we need to consider?

Reviewing Proposals

We can only allow Time To Pay (TTP) where the customer meets the following conditions

  • they cannot pay in full by the due date
  • they have the means to make the agreed payments
  • they have the means to pay other liabilities that fall due during the TTP period, and
  • the TTP period is as short as possible.

In deciding whether to agree proposals you need to consider all of the areas below to see if the customer meets the conditions above. The extent to which we consider each of these areas will vary depending upon the amount outstanding and the timescale requested. More details about the minimum level of questioning is contained in DMBM802200 to DMBM802230.

“Can’t pay” or “won’t pay”

The first stage of considering any proposals is deciding whether the customer “can’t pay” or “won’t pay”. The definition of can’t pay and won’t pay was given in DMBM800050 

What they have done to raise money

HMRC is not a source of working capital for businesses and we expect customers to have tried to raise funds themselves through normal commercial means before approaching HMRC for a TTP. For more information see DMBM803020 

Previous compliance

When looking at TTP requests we need to consider the customers past behaviour as this may be indicative of their future behaviour see DMBM803030 

Outstanding returns

We need to know how much the customer owes us, and without all of their returns we won’t have an accurate picture. Where a customer has outstanding returns we need to scrutinise their request and find out why returns have not been submitted. For more information see DMBM803040.

Ongoing viability

Customers must be able to demonstrate that they are able to meet their repayments and keep up to date with ongoing liabilities. They need to have a plan to avoid repeating the issue that has caused them to fall into debt and we will need to consider how realistic their plan is. For more information see DMBM803050 


Sometimes customers will have assets that they should realise to pay their debts and we shouldn’t agree TTP when the customer can easily make payment. In other cases it will not be reasonable to refuse TTP solely because the customer has assets. For more information see DMBM803060