This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

DMBM560225 - Debt and return pursuit: foreign cases: Mutual Assistance in the Recovery of Debt (MARD) (OECD / DTA): about requests for recovery

How requests will be made

Requests for assistance in recovery to or from the UK concerning a tax or duty debt can only be made through the International Debt Unit, MARD team.

A request for recovery can be made if the debtor owes a tax or duty debt covered by the agreement and either:

  • lives in, or is established in, another country
  • has assets in another country.


A requested country will recover a debt referred to them under these arrangements using the same recovery procedures they would use to recover a debt within their own country. In the UK, all debts are to be recovered as if they were a UK income tax debt.

Some countries have agreements with the UK under both the CoE/OECD Convention and a DTA, and can send them to us under either route. The rules about dealing with a request for recovery depend on which of the provisions apply – OECD/CoE or DTA and whether an MOU is in place.

The following is an outline of the main provisions of the legal agreements, although each individual agreement may differ.

Taxes covered by the agreement

In general, this will be all taxes and duties for which HMRC is responsible (with the exception of Customs duties), but will depend on each individual agreement.

Documents to accompany a request

This will depend on the agreement, but in general it will be an official copy of the instrument permitting enforcement (IPE).

For requests made under the OECD agreement there will also be:

  • declaration (see below)
  • any other document required for recovery or precautionary measures

Content of declaration

This will depend on the agreement, but in general it will be:

  • the tax claim concerns a tax covered by the Convention
  • the tax claim is not contested
  • if the debtor is not resident in the applicant country, that the tax claim may no longer be contested

Grounds for refusing a request for recovery

This will depend on the terms of the agreement, but in general a request for assistance in recovery of a debt can be refused where:

  • the conditions for making the request are not met
  • the request is out of time (see period of limitations section below.

There  may be other grounds, depending on the agreement. 

Instrument Permitting Enforcement (IPE)

A request for recovery must be accompanied by an Instrument Permitting Enforcement covering the debt and any other document as required by any MOU in place.


Period of limitation

The period of limitation of the applicant country will apply.

Old claims

In general, the request for assistance is normally to be made no more than 15 years from the date of the original instrument permitting enforcement, although this may change depending on the agreement.


Cases referred under the OECD Convention will be in the official languages of either English or French.

Cases referred under a bilateral agreement are usually sent in the language of the applicant country.

Exchange rate that applies

The exchange rate that applies is the latest selling rate on the most representative exchange rate market in the applicant country on the date when the request was made.


Where late payment interest is to be charged by the UK per the individual agreement, it is charged as if it were a UK income tax.


Only the applicant country can consider a dispute about the validity of the debt.

Only the requested country can consider a dispute about the enforcement measures used.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)