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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Debt and return pursuit: foreign cases: Mutual Assistance in the Recovery of Debt (MARD) (Social Security Debts): recovery requests received from other member states: Field Force action

MARD team referrals


  • another member state has asked the UK to recover a national insurance contributions debt owed to them by a debtor living in England, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • the MARD team have been unable to obtain payment from a debtor themselves
  • distraint action has been determined as the next appropriate recovery action

the MARD team will send the debtor a MARD distraint warning letter and enforcement factsheet.

If the debtor fails to pay or respond to the warning letter, they will refer the case to you for action. They will send you a referral form explaining the action you need to take, together with supporting papers detailing the debt due.

Take distraint action to recover the debt, using the same procedures as you would for a UK National Insurance Contributions debt.

The debt will be on SAFE and on IDMS, but the MARD team will retain ownership of both records.

Debtor requests time to pay

If the debtor requests time to pay, deal with as per the guidance in DMBM560720.

Debtor pays

Payments will normally be made direct to the Accounts Office Shipley who will then allocate the payment to the charge on SAFE.

  • If payment is made in full, close your case.
  • If the payment is a time to pay instalment, tell the MARD team about the receipt of the instalment.
  • If the payment is a part payment, but not part of a time to pay proposal:

    • tell the MARD team about the receipt of the part payment
    • recalculate the UK interest due on the remaining balance if appropriate
    • write to the debtor requesting the remaining payment plus the additional interest
    • B/F for 28 days.

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.

HMRC enforcement fees

UK fees should be charged in accordance with normal practice and accounted for in accordance with the guidance in DMBM656340.

Such fees are retained by the UK. However, where payment is received from the debtor for the debt alone, this should be paid to the applicant member state in full and we should seek wherever possible to pursue and recover the fees separately.

Distraint inappropriate or unsuccessful

If distraint action is not appropriate or is unsuccessful:

  • send the MARD team an outcome report
  • close your case.