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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Time To Pay: agreeing or rejecting Time To Pay: authorisation levels

Authorisation levels

Before Time To Pay (TTP) can be agreed it must be authorised at the correct grade. The grade of the officer required to authorise a case will vary depending upon the amount of money owed by the customer.

TTP arrangements exceeding 12 months are exceptional and must be authorised by a manager, with the exception of tax credit cases.

If at any point during discussions /negotiations you discover that the customer can pay or that their request is unacceptable you must reject TTP (see DMBM803520).

Where TTP is agreed you must advise the customer of the conditions of the arrangement, see DMBM803540. You must also advise them of the enforcement action we will take if we have to cancel the arrangement.

Authorisation levels

The table below the maximum authorisation levels for staff. The values represent total HMRC debt and apply to all staff.

Amount outstanding Authority grade
Up to £349,999.99 AO
Up to £749,999.99 O
Up to £999,999.99 HO* or SO
Up to £1,999,999.99 Grade 7 or 6
Up to £6,999,999.99 SCS1
Any amount SCS2


*the line manager has the discretion to reduce an HO’s authority down to the £749,999.99 limit.


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Information gathering

When deciding what information to gather to make an informed decision on a TTP request you should consider the amount that:

  • is outstanding (if the request is made after the due date)
  • that will remain unpaid at the due date (if the request is made prior to the due date)

You should gather the level of information as detailed at DMBM802210, DMBM802220, DMBM802230 and the TTP1000 helpcard (PDF 40kb).

If at any point during discussions/negotiations you discover that the customer can pay or that their request is unacceptable you should look to reject the at that point rather than continue to collect additional evidence (see DMBM803520).

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Authorising Time To Pay

An officer of any grade can gather and evaluate information from the customer about their TTP request but the actual decision to agree a TTP must be made at the correct grade.

When deciding who needs to authorise a TTP request you should consider the amount that is outstanding at the time authorisation is required. A down-payment or any other reduction in the outstanding amount may mean that the request can be authorised at a lower grade.

The authorising officer must review the details of the customer’s request and make the decisions whether to grant TTP or not. If more information is required before a decision can be made then they should either contact the customer directly or get the caseworker to do so.

When the authorising officer has made their decision they must advise the caseworker of their decision and the reasons for this. In all cases the authorising officer must ensure that an action history note is recorded on IDMS that contains their PID and the fact that they have agreed to the TTP request.

Authorising Time To Pay after an Compliance Accountant’s review

A Compliance Accountant’s review is required for TTP requests being considered for acceptance where the debt outstanding is £750,000 or more (see DMBM802230).

If the debt outstanding is £1 million or over we may require an Independent Business Review (IBR) to be conducted, see DMBM802240. In these cases the Compliance Accountant will produce a report based on the findings of the IBR.

The Compliance Accountant (CA) will usually provide you with an email report which will include comments, questions and their recommendation on the request for TTP. The CA’s recommendation is their opinion on whether the TTP request should be accepted or not, and is to aid the final decision. In all cases the final decision to agree TTP must be made by the appropriate authorising officer.

If after reviewing the accountant’s report you think that TTP should be agreed you should refer the case to:

You should refer the case by email and the e-mail must include:

  • the customer’s name and reference number in the subject field
  • an updated case summary form following the Compliance Accountant’s report
  • a copy of the completed Corporate Debt Questionnaire
  • a copy of the Compliance Accountant’s report.

If you think that the TTP should be rejected (for instance because the customer has accrued a further debt or they have not made payments as agreed) you should follow the guidance at DMBM803520.