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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
, see all updates

Debt and return pursuit: overview: enforcement

Initial recovery action

Initial pursuit of outstanding SA debts will be taken in accordance with the information provided in the Debt Management & Banking Manual (DMBM516000).

Where the issue of automatic letters or Debt Management Telephone Centre (DMTC) activity is not successful, the work item(s) will be passed to a Debt Technical Office (DTO) to review the case and where appropriate, refer for enforcement action.

From the 2015-2016 tax year, any Class 2 NICS due will be included in the Balancing Charge but where a customer is not liable to pay Clas 2 NICS, they can opt to pay voluntary contributions.

If any voluntary contributions remain unpaid after 31st January, the amount of Class 2 NICs contributions to be collected will be reduced to the amount the customer has paid or to Zero where nothing has been paid. Note: DMB cannot pursue unpaid Class 2 NICS volntary contributions.

Enforcement action

The Enforcement Case signal will be automatically set by the Integrated Debt Management System (IDMS) when the associated Next Action note is requested on IDMS, such as where enforcement action is being taken, for example Distraint or County Court Proceedings.

The signal can be shown on cases working with the DTO and cases working with the Enforcement and Insolvency Services (EIS) and brings attention to the fact that the case is at the enforcement stage of collection.

The enforcement signal does not mean that the case is working with EIS and you will need to check who has collection responsibility to identify if the case is working with a DTO or EIS.

In certain circumstances referral of the case to EIS may be necessary, see SAM50070.

If a DTO asks another office to carry out a personal call, responsibility for recovery activity remains with the original office rather than the office making the call.


Interest accrues on all SA liabilities (except interest itself) until the debt is cleared. Interest does not stop accruing at the date of commencement of enforcement action. The old principle of stopping interest at the date of proceedings no longer applies. You should ensure that accruing interest is included in your recovery actions.

Taxpayer statements

Taxpayer statements will continue to be issued by the SA computer system after proceedings have commenced. The statements will show interest accrued to date until payment in full is received.

Claims to adjust payments on account

Taxpayers may make a claim to adjust the payment on account at any time up to 31 January following the end of the tax year. You will find further information on this subject in section `Claims to adjust payments on account’ (SAM1000 onwards).

The due date of the adjusted amount is not affected and collection activity should continue without interruption.


Costs are not accounted for in SA and any associated law costs are manually created on IDMS. For further details about IDMS please refer to the IDMS site on the Intranet or the IDMS User Guide.

More information

For more information about enforcement action, see the Debt Management & Banking Manual (DMBM650000).