If you don't pay your tax bill

6. Court action

If HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) takes you to court, you may have to pay court fees and HMRC’s costs as well as the tax you owe.

Magistrates court (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

HMRC can start magistrates court proceedings against you if:

  • you have separate debts of £2,000 each or less
  • you’ve owed the money for under a year

You’ll get a summons before the hearing explaining what you owe and where and when the hearing will be. If you pay, you won’t have to go to court.

If you disagree with the amount on the summons, you’ll need to contact HMRC before your case goes to court.

If you don’t pay, HMRC can ask the court to:

County court (England and Wales)

The court will write to you explaining how much you owe and what you need to do.

If you disagree with the amount you’re being asked to pay, you may need to go to court to explain why.

If you don’t pay, HMRC can ask the court to:

Sherrif court (Scotland)

HMRC will apply to the court for a warrant to collect your debt. You’ll have 14 days to pay from the date of the warrant.

If you don’t pay, HMRC can ask the court to: