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HMRC internal manual

International Exchange of Information Manual

The DAC: Definition of a ruling for the DAC

IEIM550100: The DAC: Definition of a ruling for the DAC

A ruling is defined at Article 3 paragraph 14 of the DAC.

It is widely drawn and must concern one of the following:

  • A cross-border transaction
  • Whether the activities of another person in another jurisdiction create a permanent establishment


The meaning of cross-border transaction is explained in IEIM550400, but notably can include transactions that are between the UK and jurisdictions outside the EU, without any other Member States being involved.

The ruling must also concern the interpretation of application of a legal or administrative provision of the administration or enforcement of the UK tax laws.

The definition includes rulings that are given:

  • In advance of the transactions or activities taking place
  • In advance of a filing of the tax return covering the period in which the transactions activities took place
  • In the context of a tax enquiry or investigation (‘tax audit’) in relation to years for which a tax return has yet to be received


In general terms, the following will certainly be exchangeable under the DAC:

  • Any Advanced Pricing Agreement, (APA), or Advance Thin Capitalisation Agreement, (ATCA), with a cross-border effect, whether unilateral or bilateral (IEIM520200)
  • An agreement to the existence or absence of a Permanent Establishment
  • Foreign branch exemption agreements
  • An agreement relating to the profit attribution to a Permanent Establishment


Also see the guidance at IEIM520100 regarding whether a legitimate expectation has been created.