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HMRC internal manual

International Exchange of Information Manual

What is a ruling: Overview

IEIM520010: What is a ruling? Overview

There are two definitions of rulings for the purposes of automatic exchange, one agreed by the OECD and the other by EU:

  • For the OECD see IEIM540100
  • For the EU see IEIM550100

Both the definitions are based on the same concept: that of a specific customer (or group of customers) being entitled to rely on the advice, information or undertaking provided by a tax authority concerning their tax situation. 

The term ruling in both agreements also relies on the concept of legitimate expectation, which is discussed at IEIM520100; that guidance also provides a list of situations that will definitively involve providing a ruling.

Rulings may be given before or after the event or transaction in question, but to be exchangeable they would need to be given before the tax return is submitted that covers the event or transaction (IEIM520800).

The form the ruling takes is not specified.  It could be given in writing in a letter or email, or verbally at a meeting or over the phone. 

It does not matter whether the transaction has been carried out by the customer after the ruling has been given.  There is no requirement to confirm the transaction has taken place; the ruling should be exchanged at or soon after the assurance is provided to the customer (IEIM570400). 

If you have concerns whether something does or does not amount to a ruling please contact JITSIC.


Advanced Pricing Agreements

Both Action 5 and DAC also require the exchange of APAs, including advance thin capitalisation agreements.  There is further guidance on the definition of APAs at IEIM520200.