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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Time To Pay: agreeing or rejecting Time To Pay: payment methods

Immediate payment

When discussing Time To Pay (TTP) you should ask how much the customer can pay immediately. Our preferred method of immediate payment is either by debit or credit card. The advantage of these methods is that we get immediate confirmation that the money will be paid. Where larger amounts are owed and a debit/credit card payment isn’t appropriate the customer should be advised to make an electronic payment by a method such as BACS or CHAPS.

Debit or Credit card

Guidance on taking payment by debit or credit card is in Telephone Payment Service User Guide (TPSUG).

Electronic payment

If the customer cannot pay by debit or credit card, then they should be encouraged to make an initial electronic payment. You must make sure that the customer is aware of the correct reference to use and that they make payment to the correct account. Full details of how to pay are available on the HMRC website via the quick link ‘Paying HMRC’.

In larger value cases you may consider asking the customer to fax you a copy of the bank’s confirmation that the payment has been made.

Regular payments

In all TTP cases you must agree the method of payment with the customer as well as the amount and dates of payment.

Direct Debit

For all TTP cases payment by Direct Debit is mandatory except in exceptional cases (see DMBM800040). There are a number of reasons for this:

  • payments made by direct debit are cheaper to process than cheque payments
  • payments are taken automatically so there is no chance that the customer will forget to make payment
  • payment plans can be set up with the correct reference numbers to ensure that payments are correctly allocated
  • it reduces the need for subsequent customer contact.

If the customer has reservations about making payment by Direct Debit you should advise them that payments can be set up quickly and easily over the phone (in most cases), the service is secure and they are covered by the Direct Debit guarantee.

You can advise business customers that making payment by Direct Debit is usually one of the cheapest methods for them to make payment.

For details on setting up Direct Debit for customers see the National Direct Debit User Guide (NDDUG).

Electronic payment

Where, exceptionally, the customer can’t make payment by Direct Debit they should be encouraged to pay electronically. You must make sure that the customer is aware of the correct reference numbers and account details to use.

Card payment

You should avoid getting the customer to phone you to make a payment by debit/credit card for each instalment. If they wish to pay by card for each instalment they can use the BillPay facility on the HMRC website.


If the customer is paying by cheque you will need to supply them with payslips. If you are unable to provide payslips for any reason you should make sure that the customer enters their reference number on the cheque.

All payment methods

Full details of how to make payment to HMRC are available on the HMRC website via the quick link ‘Paying HMRC’.