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

HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Debt and return pursuit: Foreign cases: Mutual Assistance in the Recovery of Debt (MARD) (Social Security Debts): sending and receiving requests

How requests will be made

Requests for assistance to or from the UK concerning a NICs debt or a family benefit overpayment can only be made through the UK International Debt Unit, MARD team or, if the debt concerns a UK Child Benefit overpayment, DM Birmingham.

All requests for assistance should normally be made using the standard forms and should be sent to the other country by post to the relevant address specified in the Master Directory. However, some countries may use their own versions of the forms or make the request by letter. These should normally be accepted as valid requests provided they contain all the mandatory information needed to action the request.

Forms for making requests

Debt Management will use the following forms for making and replying to requests:

Request for information

R012 - Request for information

R014 - Reply to request for information

Request for notification

R015 - Request for notification

R016 - Reply to request for notification

Request for recovery

R017 - Request for recovery / precautionary measures

R018 - Reply to recovery / precautionary measures. This form will also be used to request additional information or seek agreement to a TTP proposal.

R036 - Provision of additional information

R004 - Notification of payment


R019 - Notification of contestation

R033 - Reply to notification of contestation

R034 - Decision on contestation

All forms can be used by either the applicant or the requested party.

Where a claim is withdrawn or reduced following a dispute, the R034 is used to notify this fact rather than the R025 (see below).

Withdrawing or Reducing Claims

R025 - Notification of withdrawal or reduction of claim

Where the claim is being withdrawn or reduced as a result of a dispute, the R034 is used instead.

Reimbursement of Costs

R028 - Request for reimbursement of costs

R029 - Reply to request for reimbursement of costs

R004 - Notification of payment

Completing the forms

Complete the forms as per the EU guidelines.

Although not all the data requested on each form is mandatory, every effort should be made to provide as much of the information requested on the form as possible.

Where a request is in respect of an employer, the employee’s details must be provided as well as the details of the employer.

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


The forms are standard across all countries and are available in all languages.

There is no legal requirement to translate the request or any accompanying documents into the language of the other country. You must therefore not reject a request solely on the basis that it is not in English.

If a request or documents are sent to you from another country and they are not in English, arrange for them to be translated as appropriate before you send them to the debtor.

Do not translate any requests or documents you send to another country into their language.

Who to send the request to

The contact in each country responsible for processing each type of request is listed in the Master Directory, which is available to the public on the internet. As well as those responsible for recovery it also includes contacts in each country responsible for determining entitlement to benefit (including family benefits, pensions, sickness and so on), liability to contributions and offset.

The information from the Master Directory must be used to complete the sending and receiving institutions details.

Monetary limits

A country will not normally provide information, notify documents or take recovery action unless the debt is for more than €350. This is the total debt and can include, for instance, a National Insurance contribution debt plus any interest due on it as well as any recovery costs incurred.

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

Time limits

Countries are not obliged to grant assistance for a request where the debt is more than five years old.

The five-year period is normally calculated from the date when the debt is established. However, if the debt is contested/disputed, the five-year limit is calculated from the date from which the debt or revised debt has been confirmed.

Period of limitation

The period of limitation is:

  • the amount of time we have in which to recover a debt
  • determined by the law in the applicant country insofar as they concern the claim and/or the instrument permitting enforcement
  • determined by the law in the requested country insofar as they concern the enforcement measures in the requested country.

The period of limitation for a UK claim and/or instrument permitting enforcement

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the period of limitation for family benefit overpayments and National Insurance debts is normally six years.

In Scotland, this period is normally 20 years.

For more information on UK periods of limitation refer to DMBM595080.

The period of limitation concerning the enforcement measures

In such cases the period of limitation starts from the date the requested country has directly recognised the instrument permitting enforcement or the date they have accepted it, recognised it, supplemented it or replaced it.

In the UK, we will directly recognise the instrument permitting enforcement and so in practice the period of limitation for UK enforcement measures will start from the date we have accepted the claim as a valid claim and will end as per the guidance within DMBM595080.