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HMRC internal manual

International Manual

Thin capitalisation: practical guidance: introduction: getting help with thin capitalisation cases

Thin capitalisation is a practical subject, so experience in working cases and confidence in one’s abilities to analyse and understand complex businesses both play an important part in handling a case successfully. Each case must be approached according to its own facts and circumstances, with a degree of commercial awareness.

Thin cap cases should be worked or supervised by a member of the Transfer Pricing Group (TPG) or an International Issues Manager (IIM), usually in Local Compliance or the Large Business Service. Cases, whether ATCA or enquiry, should only be taken up once they have been subject to TP governance (see INTM481080). If anyone feels they are going it alone without specialist input, the system is not working. The TPG is organised in centres of expertise around the country, while the IIMs have a similar network. They have their own intranet pages with lists of contacts.

The Business, Assets & International Transfer Pricing Team is part of CSTD, working alongside other international specialists. The team also works closely with the loan relationships, financial services and avoidance specialists within CT and Business Income Tax. The team acts as policyholders for thin cap, but will only be closely involved in the largest and most complex cases, and where novel or difficult issues require advice and support. However, the team is available to help, particularly where an unorthodox feature presents itself or there is a dispute about an across-the-board issue such as acceptable practice or consistency. INTM511050 lists some of the types of cases in which Business, Assets & International is particularly interested. Business, Assets &  International is responsible for ensuring that HMRC applies the thin capitalisation legislation in a consistent and correct way, and responds to changes and challenges. It can only do this successfully if it is aware of the issues and challenges emerging from the practical application of the legislation and processes.