HMRC Distraint Notice and Inventory Checklist Letter

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Updated: 7th July 2021

What does a HMRC Distraint Notice and Inventory Checklist letter from HMRC mean?


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To, I have today seen and distrained the goods listed in the inventory overleaf at.

If you do not pay the debt and all the costs within 5 days from this date, I will arrange to sell the goods.

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HMRC Distraint Notice and Inventory 


A Distraint Notice and Inventory letter from HMRC is an escalation of overdue tax payments that have led to the threat of them auctioning off your company’s assets in order to realise funds to pay the debt. An official visits the company’s premises and issues the director(s) or “responsible person” with the distraint notice and will document all valuable assets at the premises.

Once these have been recorded, there will be an option to agree to “walking possession”, which is where the HMRC official “walks away”, but holds possession of the goods. If the debt has not been paid after five days, HMRC can auction off the assets. If you don’t agree to a walking possession, HMRC can take away the assets immediately.

If you are in this situation, you potentially still have time to turn things around, even if you are unable to pay the debt or you need more time to put together a repayment plan. For example, solutions such as a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) might be accepted by your creditor(s) which is where the company pays the debt over three to five years and gives you breathing space from creditors as they would be unable to chase you for payment – it will all be taken care of within the agreement with no need to liaise with them at all.

Administration might also be an option if the business is viable going forward and simply needs restructuring.

In these circumstances, it’s best that you talk to a licensed insolvency practitioner as soon as possible – you can do this free of charge in a one-to-one setting at your nearest Real Business Rescue office.

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