Debt and return pursuit: foreign cases: Mutual Assistance in the Recovery of Debt (MARD) (Social Security Debts): recovery requests received from other member states: MARD team action
A request for assistance in recovery should contain at least the mandatory data on an R017 and must be accompanied by an instrument permitting enforcement. A reply should contain at least the mandatory information on an R018.
On receipt of a request review the case to check for suitability.
- If the request is made on an R017, are all mandatory data items completed?
- If the request is not made on an R017, does the request contain all the mandatory information required on the R017?
- Is the instrument permitting enforcement attached?
- Is the amount of the debt shown in both UK sterling and the currency of the applicant member state?
- Are the calculations, conversions and exchange rate correct?
If you have answered no to any of the five questions above:
- send an R018 to the applicant member state and ask for the missing information/correct information
- B/F the case for two months.
If the applicant member state doesn’t respond within two months, write to them and ask them for an update using an H001. B/F the case for a further month and if they still fail to provide the missing information after the month has expired reject the case.
- Is the request in the name of a person living in the UK, with a place of business in the UK or with assets in the UK?
- Is the request proper to HMRC?
If you have answered no to either of the two questions above, reject the case.
- Do any of the restrictions listed in DMBM560650 apply?
If you have answered yes to the question above, reject the case.
If the request doesn’t meet the above criteria:
- (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
- send an R018 to the applicant member state and explain at point 7 the reason why the request has been rejected
- close your case.
(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
Changes to debtor’s details
- the debtor’s address has changed
- the debtor has died, or
- the debtor has become bankrupt / insolvent
send a completed R018 to the applicant member state and advise them on the action you will take.
Asking the debtor for payment
- Create the charge on SAFE and indicate interest bearing or non-interest bearing as appropriate.
- Manually input the details into IDMS.
- Send a MARD 2 (found on SEES Forms and Letters) to the debtor to request payment. Attach a copy of the applicant member states instrument permitting enforcement translated into English.
- B/F for 28 days.
On B/F, review SAFE for receipt of payment.
Debtor requests time to pay
If the debtor requests time to pay, deal with as per the guidance in DMBM560720.
If you receive a payment from the debtor, either in part or in full, send a completed R018 to the applicant member state. You will need to tell them whether the claim has been recovered in part or in full, and if in part whether further recovery action will be taken to recover the outstanding amount.
When you are ready to transfer the amount to the applicant member state:
- arrange for the payment to be transferred to the applicant member state using the bank details and payment reference quoted on their R017 or equivalent
- send an R004 to the applicant member state to advise them of the details of the payment transferred.
If the payment is full or final payment, close your case.
If the payment is a time to pay instalment, monitor the case for receipt of the next payment.
If the payment is a part payment, but not a time to pay instalment:
- write to the debtor requesting the remaining payment plus any additional interest
- B/F for 28 days.
Debtor doesn’t pay or respond
If you are satisfied that the debtor is at the stated address, consider the next appropriate action to recover the debt.
- If it is a family benefit debt - you can’t use distraint to recover the debt. Therefore, if the debtor fails to pay, consider whether county court proceedings are appropriate.(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) For further guidance see DMBM696640 but ignore references to OPREC.
- If it is a contributions debt, recover as if it was a UK NICs debt.
If the debtor claims that they can’t pay, ask them to provide evidence to support their claim.
If you are satisfied that the debtor is not at the stated address, check for an alternative address.
If alternative address is traced:
- reissue the payment request letter and accompanying papers to the debtor at the new address
- send an R018 to the applicant member state to advise them of the change of address
- B/F for 28 days.
If no alternative address is traced:
- send an R018 to the applicant member state to advise them that the claim cannot be recovered and explain why
- close case.
Debtor disputes the debt
If the debtor disputes their liability to or the accuracy of the debt, deal with their dispute as per the guidance in DMBM560730.
Referring the debt for enforcement action
Before you refer the debt to the relevant office for the next enforcement action, issue the appropriate MARD enforcement warning letter and fact sheet to the debtor.
If the debtor fails to pay or respond to the warning letter, refer the debt to the relevant Enforcement Office for action using the agreed referral process.
No further recovery action possible
If the debt can’t be recovered in full or in part, notify the applicant member state using the R018 and close your case.
Reduction or withdrawal of a debt
If the debt is reduced or withdrawn, otherwise than as a result of a dispute, the applicant member state will notify you of the fact on an R025 or equivalent. They should tell you the reason for the reduction or withdrawal and the action they want you to take.
If the debt has been reduced, they will also provide you with a revised debt breakdown.
On receipt, update SAFE and IDMS with the revised debt figures.
- If the debt has been reduced, SAFE will recalculate the interest, continue with your action to recover the amended debt.
- If the debt is withdrawn in full, close the case.
- If the case has already been transferred for enforcement or insolvency action, notify the relevant office immediately of the reduction or withdrawal.