Talk to us today in confidence0800 970053907833 240747

What is walking possession? (taking control of goods)

8 August 2017

What is walking possession? (taking control of goods)

Taking control of goods (previously walking possession)

'Taking control of goods' is a legal term used by the enforcement department of HMRC to recover goods as a way of debt repayment. An HMRC officer will first issue a Notice of Enforcement to recover debt (after receiving a Writ of Control). 

If, after seven days (excluding Sundays and Bank Holidays), the debtor has not paid, the HMRC officer can visit the premises and take control of the goods. 

Once the officer arrives, he or she will record all valuable assets and ‘take’ control. The debtor will be given a Controlled Goods Agreement (CGA) to sign. If the debtor refuses, goods can be removed immediately. The officer then has to give seven days notice of the sale. That said, it’s usually best to agree to the CGA so your goods aren't taken away! If the goods stay, they must not be sold or traded - this is a criminal offence.

If the CGA is signed, the company then has seven days (seven days if rent arrears) to pay back the debt and distraint fees. If this is not paid in that time, the officer can then remove the assets to sell at auction.

Note: when the officer takes control of the goods, he or she can force entry but can't enter through an open window, for example. The officer can enforce seven days a week between 6am and 9pm, other than Christmas and bank holidays or within normal trading hours.

What goods can they take?

Bailiffs can seize:

  • Business stock
  • Furniture
  • Company cars/lorries
  • Office equipment

How can I avoid a Notice of Enforcement?

In order to prevent the taking control of goods and legal action, it’s always best to contact HMRC and/or your landlord to try and negotiate a payment plan.
If you are falling behind with payments, don’t ignore warning letters or brush everything under the carpet. If you are struggling to pay VAT or PAYE, you might be able to have A Time to Pay deal (TTP) arranged with HMRC.
If rent is the problem, get in touch with your landlord and see if you can negotiate payments. They probably don’t want to lose you as a long-term renter so they may be open to suggestions.
Time is of the essence in this situation so make contact as soon as you see the company coming into problems.
If they aren’t willing to negotiate, seek legal or insolvency advice to avoid further problems.

What can I do if an officer has already taken control of goods?

There may still be time to stop the officer from removing and selling your goods by considering a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) or administration. Either of these can protect the business against legal actions and aggressive creditors. A CVA would allow a restructure of the company and a debt repayment plan could be put in place.
Administration is also an option if a suitable buyer can be found as the business itself can continue. While in administration, it is again protected against legal actions and creditors.

A Worried Director

The Ultimate Guide For Worried Directors

Worried about poor cashflow? Feel you have got into a bit of a mess? Covid-19?, How to pay wages on pay day? For reassuring advice on a range of issues download our free Ultimate Guide For Worried Directors today. Or just call us on 0800 9700539

"KSA Group which owns this site, will help you fix problems in your business. We won't charge for any initial advice or face to face meetings. We speak in English. We will save you money and your precious time.  You can come to any of our offices

"We also follow up any meeting with a full "solutions report" which runs on average to 13 pages valuable free advice!!  No other practitioner offers this service.  In this report we advise on ALL the options and explain them clearly.  We advise on a course of action given the information you have given us ( the more information we have the better we can advise!)"

You are currently offline. Some pages or content may fail to load.