HMRC Receivables Management Debt Collection / Distraint Levy letter

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Updated: 7th July 2021

What does a HMRC Debt Collection and Distraint Levy letter mean?


“I called today to collect the above debt or levy distraint on your goods and assets but was unable to make contact with you. You must pay the debt in full now. If you don’t I will make a further call and if you are not available, I may levy distraint against you in your absence. This action will include costs which you will have to pay.

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In the event of removal and sale of your goods the following applies:

You will have to pay the removal, storage and appraisal fees. This can add substantially to the total amount due.

Goods are sold at public auction and the amount received is dependent on bids made. It is possible that insufficient money will be raised to clear the debt.

If the sale proceeds do not clear the debt, including costs, I will start proceedings in the county court to recover the unpaid amount.”

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HMRC Receivables Managment Debt Collector


This letter indicates an escalation of debts that have led to HMRC intending to distrain goods and assets within your premises to then auction off in order to pay the debt. A HMRC officer would have visited the company premises to serve the director(s) or “responsible person” with the distraint notice but in this case they were unable to do so as the director was not available. However, they will certainly try again and will be left undeterred in collecting the debt owed so it is best to liaise with HMRC rather than ignore them.

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.

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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