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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Working the enquiry: general payments on account: conditions

It is important to ensure that any general payments of account or amounts paid on assessments within the scope of the settlement are identified and treated correctly in the letter of offer, see EM6340. Additionally if the settlement involves an instalment offer, see EM6404.

A general payment on account made voluntarily and without legal obligation is repayable at the taxpayer’s request, provided there are no other outstanding debts to HMRC.

If you receive a request for repayment, you should contact DMB to establish whether there are any outstanding debts. Where there are outstanding debts, you must re-allocate the payment and explain to the taxpayer how it has been re-allocated.

To re-allocate a payment you must complete one of the following stencils and send it to the Miscellaneous Payments Unit in DMB.

    1. ‘Stencil - transfer of payments to other Heads of Duty’ - this is to re-allocate payments from SAFE to a different Head of Duty System.
    1. ‘Stencil - transfer of payments within SAFE’ - this is to re-allocate payments from one SAFE reference to another SAFE reference.

Where there are no outstanding debts, or a balance of the payment(s) on account can be repaid, you must authorise a repayment by sending a completed SAFE repayment stencil (SAFE 1 new) to the Miscellaneous Charges Unit in DMB.

These stencils are available in SEES.

EM1020 tells you how to contact the Miscellaneous Charges Unit.

Unexpected payment on account

If you receive an unexpected payment on account, or a request for a SAFE reference to make a payment, consider any covering letter very carefully.

  • If the payment is expressed to be “in full settlement” of your enquiries, or words to that effect, see EM6343.
  • If the payment is accompanied by

    • an offer for a substandard amount or
    • an offer for the amount sought but which cannot be accepted locally, see EM6402.

In each case, you must promptly write a disclaimer letter to inform the sender that the payment will only be accepted as a payment on account and that acceptance does not imply agreement to settle on their terms, or acceptance of any offer that has been made. If they have only requested a payment reference without making a payment, include this message in the letter with the payment reference. You must also treat any payments received before we have accepted a letter of offer as payments on account for accounting purposes.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)