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HMRC internal manual

International Exchange of Information Manual

What is a ruling: Rulings arising from enquiries and real time working

IEIM520900: What is a ruling? Rulings arising from enquiries or real time working


We should only exchange rulings where we provide them in advance of the tax return covering the event or transactions in question (IEIM520800).  This means that settling an enquiry, or otherwise confirming the tax treatment of a transaction or event in the course of an enquiry, is not in itself a ruling to be exchanged. 

If in the course of the enquiry we give agreement or an opinion on which the customer can rely about the treatment of future transactions, this will be a ruling that we need to exchange.  This would be an explicit agreement or opinion from HMRC that the particular transaction should have a certain tax treatment in the future, rather than any tacit agreement or other lack of comment on our part.


Real time working

The nature of real time working means that HMRC will provide a view to customers on the likely tax treatment of events or transactions prior to the customer filing the return.  The customer will have sought or been provided with this advice in order to give them certainty, so they will be entitled to rely on it.

For these reasons it is likely that opinions or agreements provided as part of real time working will be rulings that will need to be exchanged. Also see the guidance on whether there is legitimate expectation at IEIM520100, and on providing general advice at IEIM520700.