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HMRC internal manual

Securities Guidance

Security for tax at risk of being unpaid: How long we will hold a VAT/environmental tax security

We will hold security until we are satisfied that the person is no longer a risk to the revenue. We will review the need to retain security at any time on request or after standard periods of

  • 12 months where the person makes monthly returns
  • 24 months where the person makes quarterly returns.

If your review shows that the person’s compliance with the regime for which we hold security is satisfactory you should repay the security after setting-off any amount you need to settle the person’s other debts to HMRC, see SG62000.

Successfully monitoring compliance during the retention period may mean asking for further security to top up the level to the original amount you required, see SG68000.

If your review at the end of the standard 12 or 24 month retention period finds that the person is still a risk to the revenue you can retain security. Retaining security represents a new decision. You must write to the person to tell them what you are doing and offer a review. They have a right of appeal against your decision, see SG70200.