COVID-19 – HMRC relax inheritance tax process

COVID-19 – HMRC relax inheritance tax process

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced changes to the inheritance tax (IHT) process to ensure minimal disruption because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The changes come as a result of the current lockdown measures and aim to ensure that the IHT process remains as smooth as possible without risking the safety of those involved.

The normal process for signing IHT accounts requires the legal personal representatives or trustees to physically sign the IHT400 or IHT100 forms.

However, with the current self-isolation and social distancing measures, it is not possible to get these forms signed in this manner. As a result, printed signatures will be accepted until further notice.

In the meantime, HMRC will not accept IHT payments via cheque, and will not make any repayments using either cheques or payable orders.

Those acting on behalf of the estate, as well as trustees and personal representatives, have been informed that payments via online or telephone banking facilities would be preferable, as well as CHAPS or Bacs, paid directly to HMRC’s account.

For repayments, HMRC will now accept the signature of the agent acting on behalf of the estate for the personal representative or trustees, if the named account stays the same.

If a change of account is required, then all parties who signed the IHT 400 or IHT 100 forms must sign the letter, while HMRC has stated that it will accept printed signatures of these forms while the restrictions remain in place.

Tim Cook, Tax Partner states that “This will ensure that IHT returns can be filed and paid which in turn will enable probate to be granted.”

HMRC has issued guidance and suggested wording to ensure that forms are accepted at the current time, stating that all letters should say:

“As the agent acting on their behalf, I confirm that all the people whose names appear on the declaration page of this Inheritance Tax Account have both:

  • Seen the Inheritance Tax Account
  • Agreed to be bound by the declaration on (page 14 of the IHT400) or (page 8 of the IHT100).”

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