About TaxAid

This page is in progress – it currently covers some terms associated with tax debt


An estimated tax bill sent to you by HMRC because you have not sent back your tax return. More information


Legally taking possession of goods to pay a debt; HMRC has a power to do this without the need for a court order.  More information at

Enforcement and Insolvency Service / Enforcement and Insolvency Office

The HMRC department responsible for taking bankruptcy action and dealing with insolvency. For England and Wales this is based at Worthing. For Scotland and Northern Ireland it is based in Edinburgh.

More information at

Incapacity Benefit

A social security benefit which is normally taxable income (now replaced for new claims by Employment and Support Allowance). More information at

Late filing penalties

Penalties charged by HMRC for missing the filing deadline for tax returns. Under Self Assessment, the usual deadlines are 31 January for on-line submission and 31 October for paper returns. More information at

Late payment penalties

Penalties for paying tax late. These are in addition to any interest due. The normal payment date for Self Assessment income tax and National Insurance is 31 January. More information – see under

Order to Attend Court for Questioning

An order sent by the Count Court requiring you to attend a meeting with a court official to explain your financial circumstances. See under ‘How county court judgments are enforced’ on the direct gov website at

Payment on account

Provisional amounts of tax payable until your final liability for the year is worked out; payments on account are due 31 January and 31 July and can be reduced if they are too high. More information at and

Self Assessment Statement

This is like a credit card statement for your tax. It is normally issued about a month and a half before a new tax bill becomes payable, or if you are due a refund. It shows what has happened since you last statement. This includes payments you have made, surcharges, interest and penalties. It also includes amounts becoming due shortly. For more information, please see ‘Understanding your self-assessment statement’ on the HMRC website at


Someone who is in business on their own account and so is responsible for dealing directly with HMRC about their tax affairs, see

Special Relief

Special Relief is a procedure which can be used to displace and estimated tax bill in circumstances where it would be ‘unconscionable’ to enforce the debt. This can be a hard condition to fulfil. For a consideration of Special relief, see the TaxAid tip in the Tax Debt Guide page ‘The amount demanded may be wrong’ at

Statutory Demand

A Statutory Demand is a letter requiring payment of a debt, usually within 21 days. If the debt is not paid or secured within this time, or set aside by the Court (on application within 18 days), then the person to whom you owe the money may apply to the Court to make you Bankrupt.

Tax help for Older People

A charity which provides free tax advice for people over 60. Website –

Tel 01308 488066