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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
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Debt and return pursuit: foreign cases: Mutual Assistance in the Recovery of Debt (MARD) (Social Security Debts): requests for recovery received from other countries - EIS Worthing and Edinburgh action

International Debt Unit, MARD referrals

Where:

  • another country has asked the UK to recover a family benefit or a National Insurance contributions debt owed to them by a debtor in the UK
  • if it’s a family benefit debt, the debtor also owes tax debts
  • we have been unable to obtain payment from the debtor
  • bankruptcy, sequestration or insolvency action has been determined as the next appropriate enforcement action

the case will be referred to you for action. Ownership of the debt on IDMS will also be transferred to you, but the International Debt Unit, MARD team will retain ownership of the debt on SAFE.

Take bankruptcy, sequestration or insolvency action, using the same procedures as you would for an equivalent UK debt. Provide the International Debt Unit, MARD team with regular updates on the progress of the case.

Debtor requests time to pay

If the debtor requests time to pay, you can only agree it if you have authority from the applicant country to do so. When the International Debt Unit, MARD team refer the debt to you, they will advise whether time to pay is either:

  • acceptable without further consultation
  • only acceptable after consultation
  • not acceptable at all.

Acceptable without further consultation

If the debtor puts forward a proposal for payment, deal with as per the guidance in DMBM800000. If the proposal would:

  • not be acceptable if it were a UK debt, reject the request as per the normal guidelines
  • be acceptable if it were a UK debt:
    • advise the debtor that the agreement is acceptable as per the normal rules
    • notify the International Debt Unit, MARD team of the details of the proposal
    • transfer ownership of the IDMS record back to the International Debt Unit, MARD team to monitor the case to ensure the debtor does not default.

Only acceptable after consultation

If the debtor requests time to pay and the applicant country has not already said this can be authorised, consider the proposal as per the guidance in DMBM800000; if the proposal would:

  • not be acceptable if it were a UK debt, reject the request as per the normal guidelines
  • be acceptable if it were a UK debt:
    • tell the debtor that you will need to consult with the applicant country before you can tell them whether or not the proposal is acceptable
    • notify the International Debt Unit, MARD team of the details of the proposal.

The International Debt Unit, MARD team will contact the applicant country to seek their agreement to the proposal.

If the proposal is acceptable, the International Debt Unit, MARD team will let you know. On receipt:

  • tell the debtor that the proposal is acceptable
  • transfer ownership of the IDMS record back to the International Debt Unit, MARD team to monitor the case to ensure the debtor does not default.

If the proposal is not acceptable, the applicant country will tell the International Debt Unit, MARD team what terms are acceptable. On receipt, the International Debt Unit, MARD team will write to the debtor to advise them of the terms that would be acceptable. If the debtor:

  • accepts the terms, the International Debt Unit, MARD team will ask you to transfer ownership of the IDMS record back to them to monitor the case as above
  • rejects the terms or does not respond, the International Debt Unit, MARD team will ask you to continue with your action to recover the debt.

Not acceptable at all

Advise the debtor that time to pay is not acceptable and ask for payment in full. If debtor fails to respond, continue with your action to recover the debt.

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, including UK enforcement fees and costs, transfer ownership of the IDMS record back to the International Debt Unit, MARD team and close your 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 DMBM560740.