HMRC enforcement agents (bailiffs) can take stock and equipment from your business or goods from your home.
They can sell these items to clear your debt.
They do not need a court order to do this.
They can force entry to your business, but they need court permission to enter your home.
This is rare. They will sooner use another collection method like making you bankrupt.
County Court action
They could get a County Court judgment (CCJ) against you.
- You will get some blue and white court forms
- Fill these in and offer an affordable monthly repayment amount
- Find out more about this in our CCJ section
If you do not pay the CCJ, they can:
- Use enforcement methods such as bailiffs (enforcement agents)
- Apply for a charging order to attach the debt to your property
Magistrates' court hearing
HMRC can send you a hearing summons if you owe less than £2000.
Bring your business and household budgets to offer payment instalments.
If you do not pay the instalments:
Another hearing is arranged to decide if you are guilty of either:
- ‘Wilful refusal’- You have the ability to pay but refuse on principle
- ‘Culpable neglect’- You have the money but ignore the debt
The court decides whether to send you to prison.
It cannot write off your debt.
HMRC can start bankruptcy proceedings if you owe more than £750.
Find more details about this on our bankruptcy from creditors page.
Take money from your wages
HMRC can alter your tax code to collect a debt. This increases the tax deducted from your wages.
- If you earn less than £30,000, they can collect up to £3,000
- If you earn over £90,000, they can collect up to £17,000
- If you earn between these numbers, they can collect between £3,000 and £17,000