Dealing with County Court proceedings

Problems paying your tax? guide


When considering taking action in the County Court, HMRC have stated that they will consider carefully what enforcements options are appropriate and proportionate taking into account the taxpayers individual circumstances.

Charging Orders

This is an order of the court that stops a debtor from selling assets without first paying the judgement debt from the proceeds. Orders are commonly placed on property but can apply to other assets such as stcoks, shares, ISA’s. HMRC can recover a debt from the proceeds of property sale, either when the taxpayer sells the property or through an order to force sale. It is the court’s decision to grant an order.

HMRC do all they can to avoid forcing taxpayers to sell their home. To date, HMRC has only forced the sale of property where the taxpayer has multiple properties or has been involved in criminal activity.  

A court can grant an Attachment of Earnings Order so that a debt is repaid via regular deductions from an employee’s wages. The order is subject to safeguards to ensure that the taxpayer has enough of their wages left to cover essential expenses. In Scotland this is called an Arrestment of Earnings Order.

Getting help

County Court claims, procedures and forms can be difficult, and you may want to get help.

If there are problems relating to the amount of tax due, or negotiating with HMRC, and you cannot afford to pay an accountant or tax adviser, you may contact TaxAid.

Advice on court procedures and forms is available from Citizens’ Advice Bureau and law centres. County Court staff can also be very helpful. The Money Advice Service website has detailed guidance on County Coourt Judgements and court procedures.

More information on the HM Courts and Tribunal Service can be found at


Debt Management and Banking. The department of HMRC responsible for tax recovery.
County Court Judgment.