RSTP5001 - Debt enforcement

Chapter 5 of the RSTPA 2014 legislation guidance covering tax returns, enquiries and assessments.

Most people will pay us any money due (whether on tax, penalties or interest) on time. Some people however are either not able to pay the sum of money on time or will choose not to pay it upon demand.

It is important that you make us aware as soon as possible about any difficulties you may have, or expect to have, in paying any money you owe us. Where appropriate, and considering each case on an individual basis, we will then seek to work together with you to find a payment arrangement which is acceptable both to you and us (such as a contract settlement – see RSTP5002).

There will however be cases where, given the circumstances, we do not consider it possible or appropriate to enter into such arrangements. In such cases, and where you have failed to respond to a demand from us for payment, we may undertake civil court proceedings to recover the debt (see RSTP5003) by:

applying to the Sheriff Court for a summary warrant to be issued (see RSTP5004); or
for particular types of cases, seeking recovery through proceedings before either the Sheriff Court or the Court of Session.

None of the above affects your right to make an application for a debt payment programme under the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) if you live in Scotland. The DAS is a statutory debt management tool run by the Accountant in Bankruptcy enabling debtors to obtain protected, interest-free time to pay, on condition that the debt is settled in full.

If a person owes us money but we do not have their contact details, in certain circumstances we can give a notice requiring a third party to provide us with those contact details. See RSTP5005 for further guidance.

This guidance only covers civil debt recovery and does not deal with recovery measures following criminal proceedings, such as those provided for under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Unless indicated otherwise, in this chapter of guidance:

  • ‘we’, ‘us’ or ‘our’ means Revenue Scotland. ‘We’, ‘us’ or ‘our’ also includes Registers of Scotland or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency where either is carrying out a function delegated to it by us under section 4 of the RSTPA 2014; and
  • ‘you’, ‘your’ or ‘debtor’ means a person who owes us a sum of money (whether tax, penalties or interest) in relation to a devolved tax.

The guidance is structured as follows:

RSTPA guidance on contract settlements with Revenue Scotland.

RSTPA guidance on civil court action (before the Sheriff Court or the Court of Session) which Revenue Scotland may seek to undertake in order to recover debt.

RSTPA guidance on the summary warrant procedure which applies when Revenue Scotland chooses to apply to the sheriff for a summary warrant to be given to a debtor.

RSTPA guidance on the power that Revenue Scotland has to give a notice to a third party requiring them to provide the contact details of a debtor.