HMRC Relax IHT Process Amid Lockdown Restrictions

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) announced changes to the inheritance tax (IHT) process last week to ensure service continuity and minimal delays whilst the UK is in lockdown.

Firstly, until restrictions are lifted HMRC will no longer accept IHT payments via cheque and will not make repayments using payable orders or cheques.

Agents acting on behalf of the estate, personal representatives or trustees have been advised to pay by Faster Payments using online or telephone banking facilities, CHAPS or Bacs to HMRC’s account.

Given the difficulty in physically signing documents during the social distancing restrictions, HMRC is also relaxing its rules to help ensure processes remain as efficient as possible without risking the health of the stakeholders involved.

For repayments, whilst the UK is in lockdown, HMRC will accept the agent acting on behalf of the estate to sign on behalf of the personal representative or trustees as long as the named account remains the same.

If a change of account is needed all parties who originally signed the IHT 400 or IHT 100 forms must sign the letter.

HMRC has also recognised the difficulties in signing IHT 100 or 400 forms whilst the UK remains in lockdown. Until restrictions are lifted, they will recognise printed signatures for these forms as long as a professional agent is acting on behalf of the estate and:

  • The names and other personal details of the LPRs or trustees are shown on the declaration page.
  • The account includes a clear and unambiguous statement from the agent to confirm that all the LPRs or trustees have seen the account and have agreed to be bound by the declaration.

Guidance and suggested wording has also been offered by HMRC to help ensure that all forms are accepted during this time.

HMRC has suggested all letters should state:

“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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