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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

Manage work: work management: W008 outstanding debt and/or return


A work item is created when a weekly batch process selects the taxpayer record because one of the following criteria is present

  • Any amount of £50 or more is overdue
  • A return is outstanding more than 10 days after the filing date or deferred filing date
  • An amount of less than £50 is outstanding in a cessation case

Specific details

Other than details common or potentially common to all types of work item, the following specific details will be available, as appropriate

  • Amount overdue / becoming due
  • Number of returns outstanding
  • Year of the last return
  • Amount of the previous year’s liability
  • Postcode
  • Taxpayer telephone number
  • Agent identifier
  • PCA signal set
  • Confession Case signal
  • Time to Pay signal
  • Outstanding return years

Allocation of responsibility

The work item is allocated on the basis of high risk or low risk. High risk cases will be allocated to the work list in the office with recovery responsibility. Within that office the item will be worked by an officer with the user role of Clerical Caseworker.

Where there is no prior debt and / or return outstanding, low risk items will be allocated to the Receivables Individual Telephone Automation system (RITA) at the Debt Management Telephone Centre (DMTC). An officer with the user role of RTC Agent will work these items. Guidance is available in the Debt Management Telephone Centre (DMTC) Manual.

Frequency of review

This list should be reviewed daily.

Updating of details

Work Management will update the amount of the outstanding debt held on the work item only when the next weekly process is run, and if the taxpayer record is again selected. It will immediately update the work item for any change to the

  • Taxpayer name
  • NINO
  • Employers reference (EMPREF) or Schedule D register number
  • Change to the status of the PCA signal
  • Taxpayer telephone number

Action to take on the work item

Advice on the action to take to clear the work item is available in the Debt Management & Banking Manual (DMBM).

Deletion of the work item

The work item is not deleted automatically from the list other than if either

  • An insolvency reference is entered on the taxpayer’s SA record. An entry will appear on the ‘Bankruptcy and Voluntary Arrangement’ work list


  • The RLS signal is set against all usable addresses on the taxpayer’s SA record. An entry will appear on the ‘RLS Cases’ work list


  • Non-selection by the weekly batch process

The work item cannot be deleted manually.