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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

DMBM560315 - Debt and return pursuit: foreign cases: Mutual Assistance in the Recovery of Debt (MARD) (OECD and DTA): Requests for Recovery sent to other countries: International Debt Unit, MARD Team action

Review the case to check for suitability

On receipt of a referral from another Debt Management team, review the papers to confirm that

  • the debt has been correctly referred to your team in accordance with the guidance at DMBM560235
  • the debt is a tax or duty debt (or associated interest or penalty) covered by the agreement.
  • the debt is not in dispute
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • you have information to indicate that the debtor lives in or has assets in the other country.

Sending a request

If the case is suitable

  • prepare the request for recovery form and Instrument Permitting Enforcement (in the UK this is the MARD4)
  • send the request and the IPE to the other country by post and ask a reply within the timescales. Where none is set out, ask for :
    • an acknowledgement within 14 calendar days of receipt
    • to update you on any developments as the case progresses no later than every 6 months from the date of acknowledgment
  • (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)
  • B/F the case for one calendar month.

If you haven’t received an acknowledgement from the requested country when the B/F expires, telephone them to confirm that they have received the request. If you do not have a telephone number, write to them again with a copy of the request to ask for an update. (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)

Request accepted

The requested country should write to you to acknowledge receipt of the request.  On receipt of the acknowledgement, B/F the case for 6 months.

Request does not contain all required information

If the request does not contain all the information the requested country needs in order to action it, they will write to you asking for it.

Missing information available

If you can provide the missing information, write to them providing it.

Missing information not available

If you are not able to provide the missing information, write to them and explain why the missing information can’t be provided.

Request rejected

If the requested country rejects your request for assistance, they should write to you to explain why. 

On receipt, consider the next appropriate action, for instance any other recovery options or write off.

Debt recovered in full

If the requested country successfully recovers the debt in full they will

  • write to you to confirm that the debt has been recovered, and
  • send the payment to the HMRC bank account details given by you on the request form, quoting the UK reference for payment.

On receipt, the payment will be automatically set off against the taxpayer’s account, unless either:

  • the debt is an EECD debt, or
  • the correct payment reference is not quoted.

If payment has not been automatically allocated to the debt, arrange for the payment to be manually allocated against the debt.

Once the payment has been allocated to the debt, (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) and close your case.

Debt partly recovered

If the requested country successfully recovers part of the debt they should

  • write to you to confirm the amount recovered. They should also tell you if further recovery action will be taken for the balance and if not, why not, and
  • send the payment to the HMRC bank account details given by you on the request form, quoting the UK reference for payment.

On receipt, the payment will be automatically set off against the taxpayer’s account, unless either:

  • the debt is an EECD debt, or
  • the correct payment reference is not quoted.

If payment has not been automatically allocated to the debt, arrange for the payment to be manually allocated against the debt.

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

If no further recovery action is possible:

  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • and close your case

If further recovery action is possible, monitor the case for receipt of the next payment..

Debtor pays UK direct

If the debtor pays the UK direct, you must tell the requested country immediately. 

If the debt is paid in full

  • write to the requested country confirm that
    • the debtor has satisfied the claim
    • the request is withdrawn,
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) , and
  • close your case.

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

If the payment is only a part payment

  • write to the requested country to
    • inform them of the reduction and
    • ask them continue their action for the reduced amount
  • do not update the Instrument Permitting Enforcement or the debt value shown on the request form
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) , and
  • B/F the case for 6 months.

No recovery action possible

If the requested country is unsuccessful in recovering the debt they should write to you to advise you of this.

On receipt

  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • consider the next appropriate action, for instance any other recovery options (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) , and
  • close case.

Debtor disputes the debt

If the debtor disputes the debt or the Instrument Permitting Enforcement

  • obtain the reasons for the dispute in writing
  • if the dispute is about the debt, send a copy of the letter to the HMRC office(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) who will deal with the dispute.  Ask them to update you when the outcome of the dispute is known and to send you a copy of the letter they send to the debtor
  • if the debt is about the Instrument Permitting Enforcement, the dispute must be considered by the International Debt Unit, MARD Team
  • write to the requested country to:
    • advise them that the debtor is disputing the debt / Instrument Permitting Enforcement
    • ask them to suspend their recovery action while we review the dispute
  • B/F the file for two months to await the outcome of the dispute

Dispute accepted – debt cancelled in full

If you are advised that the dispute has been accepted in full and the result is that none of debt is now due

  • write to the requested country to confirm that:
    • the debtor’s dispute has been accepted and the claim is cancelled
    • the request is withdrawn, and
  • close the case.

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

Dispute accepted – debt amended

If you are advised that the dispute has been accepted and the result is that only part of the debt is now due

  • write to the requested country to confirm:
    • the amount of the revised debt
    • that they should continue their enforcement action on the revised debt
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • B/F for six months.

You do not need to issue a revised Instrument Permitting Enforcement.

Dispute rejected in full

If you are advised that the dispute has been rejected in full and that the debt is still due

  • write to the requested country to confirm:
    • that the dispute has been rejected
    • that they should continue their enforcement action for the entire debt
  • note (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) the outcome of the dispute, and
  • B/F for six months.

Withdrawing a request

You can withdraw your request for assistance at any time, but this must be in writing.

On receipt of your notification to withdraw, the requested country will cease their enforcement of the debt.

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