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HMRC internal manual

International Exchange of Information Manual

Exchange of tax rulings: Refusal to provide a ruling

IEIM511000: Exchange of tax rulings: Refusal to provide a ruling


The requirement to exchange rulings under Action 5 and the DAC applies to any advice, information, or undertaking from the tax authority on which the customer is entitled to rely (IEIM510100). 

Where HMRC refuses to provide a ruling, there is nothing on which the customer is entitled to rely and therefore there is no requirement to exchange details.  This may happen where, for example:

  • The customer fails to supply sufficient facts for us to provide a reliable opinion or valid agreement
  • HMRC is not allowed to provide a ruling on the particular issue
  • The case worker is unwilling to provide a ruling on that particular issue

In the latter two cases you may consider that the application itself contains information that is foreseeably relevant to another jurisdiction, which could then be exchanged spontaneously under the normal legal gateways.  This would not need to be on the template for a ruling.  If you are in any doubt speak to JITSIC.

It is important to distinguish the situation where HMRC disagrees with the customer’s view.  Although this may constitute a ‘refusal’, we may still be providing an opinion that can be relied upon and this may be a ruling that should be exchanged –we are not refusing to provide a ruling.  An example could be where we disagree that activity constitutes a Permanent Establishment; this would still need to be exchanged (see IEIM541300).


Example of refusal to supply a ruling

A customer requested a clearance that interest payable on a transaction was an allowable deduction.  HMRC refused the request on the grounds that the anti-arbitrage legislation would apply to disallow an interest deduction. 

HMRC has not agreed to any particular treatment, and so the refusal has not created a legitimate expectation.  It has not positively agreed to a particular interpretation of the law to their facts and so has not agreed anything.  No expectation can arise of any particular treatment. 

For more details about legitimate expectation please see IEIM520100.