Guidance

How to seek clearance or approval for a transaction

Find out how to get advance clearance or approval for transactions and check addresses of where to send applications.

HMRC will not give clearances or advice for the application of the ‘settlements legislation’ in Chapter 5 Part 5 Income Tax (Trading and Other Income) Act 2005 or the tax consequences of executing non-charitable trust deeds or settlements.

Clearances and the general anti-abuse rule

HMRC will not give either formal or informal clearances that the general anti-abuse rule (GAAR) does not apply.

HMRC has always made it clear that no assurances about the tax treatment of a transaction will be given in any situation where, in HMRC’s view, the arrangements constitute tax avoidance.

Because the GAAR will only apply to abusive avoidance arrangements, this applies equally to any arrangements which might be caught by the GAAR.

As part of its model of direct engagement with large businesses and wealthy individuals, HMRC discusses commercial arrangements and confirms where appropriate that it does not regard particular arrangements as tax avoidance.

In these cases HMRC intends that open discussions with taxpayers about commercial transactions should continue.

Code of Practice on Taxation for Banks

Where a bank adopts the Code of Practice on Taxation for Banks commits not to undertake any tax planning that achieves a tax result contrary to the intentions of Parliament.

It should not therefore be involved in any arrangements to which the GAAR might apply.

That does not mean that every arrangement outside the GAAR is accepted by HMRC as within the code.

When approached by a bank under the code, customer relationship managers will continue to give HMRC’s view if a transaction is ‘code compliant’.

Non-statutory clearance or approval

Company migrations

Notification of company migration and approval of arrangements for payment of tax liabilities in accordance with section 109B to 109F Taxes Management Act 1970 (previously section 130 Finance Act 1988). See Statement of Practice 2 (1990).

Send applications for clearance to:

HM Revenue and Customs
Business, Assets and International
Base Protection Policy Team
NE98 1ZZ

Email: clearances.companymigration@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

Controlled Foreign Companies

Clearances in relation to Controlled Foreign Companies (CFC) in accordance with Part 9A Taxation (International and Other Provisions) Act 2010 (new CFC rules) or with section 747 to 756 and Schedules 24 to 26 Income and Corporation Taxes Act (ICTA) 1988 (old CFC Rules).

All CFC applications and supporting documentation such as accounts can be sent by post or email to HMRC and the UK group’s Customer Relationship Manager or Customer Co-ordinator.

If the UK group does not have an email protocol with HMRC or if there has been no previous UK presence (for example when a foreign group is migrating its headquarters into the UK), you should say in the application that the group or company is happy for replies by email. Otherwise a reply will be sent by post.

If you send your application by email paper copies are not needed.

HM Revenue and Customs
Business, Assets and International
Base Protection Policy Team
NE98 1ZZ

Email: cfcs.mailbox@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

Investments in the UK

Inward Investment Support service

Find more information and contact details for Inward Investment if you would like to discuss the tax implications of your investment.

Business Investment Relief provisions

There is a Business Investment Relief advance assurance checklist available if you want to ask HMRC for their view on whether a proposed investment can be treated as a qualifying investment as defined in section 809VC of Income Tax Act (ITA) 2007.

All applications for advance clearance on Business Investment Relief should be sent to:

Wealthy and Mid-sized Business Compliance
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1BN

Telephone: 03000 565 250

Creative Industries

The specialist staff at the Creative Industries Unit can give you advice on the workings of the scheme as it applies to Film Tax, Animation Tax, High-end Television Tax and Video Games Development Reliefs.

You can contact them using the following details:

Creative Industries Unit (Film, Television, Animation and Video Games Tax Reliefs)
Local Compliance S0717
PO Box 3900
Glasgow
G70 6AA

Telephone: 03000 510 191

Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme and Venture Capital Trust scheme

The specialist staff at the Small Company Enterprise Centre can give you advice on the workings of these schemes, as well as providing non-statutory advance assurance to companies seeking investment under these schemes.

You can contact them using the following details:

Local Compliance
Small Company Enterprise Centre Admin Team
SO777
PO Box 3900
Glasgow
G70 6AA

Telephone: 0300 123 1083

Other non-statutory clearances

You can find information on the clearance service offered by HMRC for customers and their advisers who need clarification on guidance or legislation relating to a specific transaction.

Statutory clearance or approval

Qualifying life assurance policies

Schedule 15 ICTA 1988

You should send applications to approve certification of qualifying life assurance policies to:

HM Revenue and Customs
CTISA Corporation Tax and Business Income Tax
Financial Services Team
3rd Floor
100 Parliament Street
London
SW1A 2BQ

Telephone: 03000 585 911

Transactions in shares or debentures

Section 765 and section 765A ICTA 1988

The Treasury Consents regime was repealed by Finance Act 2009. Events or transactions taking place on or after 1 July 2009 are subject to a new reporting regime, details can be read in HMRC’s International Manual.

Transfer pricing (advance pricing agreements)

HMRC has run an advance pricing agreements (APA) programme since 1999 to assist businesses in identifying solutions for complex transfer pricing issues.

HMRC issued Statement of Practice (SP) 2 (2010) in December 2010 to update the earlier Statement of Practice (SP) 3(1999) on APA.

The SP is intended as general guidance to how HMRC interprets this APA legislation and how HMRC operates the UK APA programme.

Statutory applications for advance clearance

HMRC’s Clearance and Counteraction Team handles requests where advance clearance is required under statutory provisions relating to any one or more of the following:

Where clearance is required under any one or more of the above provisions, you should send a letter to the Clearance and Counteraction Team either by post or email.

Make it clear at the top of your letter what clearances you’re asking for. HMRC will reply to all the provisions outlined in your letter.

You can apply by post or email:

BAI Clearance
HMRC
BX9 1JL

Email: reconstructions@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

Attachments to emails should be no larger than 2MB. Do not send self-extracting zip files as HMRC software will block them.

The security of emails you send to HMRC or those that HMRC sends to you over the internet cannot be guaranteed. It’s important that you’ve assessed the risks of using email to send or to receive information.

If you use email to send information, you do so at your own risk.

If you have any doubt about the authenticity of an email you receive which claims to come from the Clearance and Counteraction Team, email: reconstructions@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk to check.

If you would like HMRC to reply by email then say so in your email and give the following statement:

I confirm that our client understands and accepts the risks associated with email and that they are happy for you to send information concerning their business or personal details to us by email. I also confirm that HMRC can send emails to the following address (or addresses)….

If you’re making the application on behalf of yourself or your company adapt this wording as necessary.

If you email your application, do not send a paper copy.

Market sensitive applications

HMRC regards information that could affect the price of a stock market quoted company, and information concerning the financial affairs of well-known individuals, as market sensitive.

These are handled by fewer people and subject to extra security but otherwise treated in the same way as non-market sensitive applications.

If you send a market sensitive application mark it for the attention of the team leader. For security reasons we’ll not send responses to market sensitive applications by email.

Be aware that:

  • the team will only send an acknowledgement of an application if you’ve asked for one
  • the team frequently receives high volumes of applications and this may delay their reply to you - keep this in mind when planning transactions
  • we do not handle applications for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) adjudications - read about getting HMRC advice on how SDLT will apply

Additionally, we do not deal with non-statutory clearances. You should send these to:

HM Revenue & Customs
Non Statutory Clearance Team S0563
5th Floor, Saxon House
1 Causeway Lane
Leicester
LE1 4AA

Email: hmrc.southendteam@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

General advice on specialist technical areas of taxation

Statements of Practice

Extra Statutory Concessions

Notices for VAT, and Customs and Excise

Revenue and customs briefs - policy changes resulting from legislation, litigation or policy reviews

Published 28 June 2011
Last updated 18 July 2018 + show all updates
  1. The address of where to send non-statutory clearances has been updated.
  2. The address to send non-statutory clearance or approval applications has been updated.
  3. The address for the Clearance and Counteraction Team has been updated.
  4. Under headings 'Company migrations' and 'Controlled Foreign Companies' there are updates to addresses and email link.
  5. The address and telephone number have been revised under Section 'Investing in the UK'.
  6. Contact details for Expression of Interest in an APA and for making an APA application have been removed.
  7. Contact details for Transfer pricing (advance pricing agreements) has been updated.
  8. Under the heading 'Business Investment Relief' the address has been updated.
  9. Small Company Enterprise Centre Telephone number changed to 0300 123 1083.
  10. Amendments made to 'Statutory applications for advance clearance' section.
  11. First published.