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COVID-19: Process changes for inheritance tax payments and returns

14 April 2020: HMRC is temporarily accepting printed signatures on inheritance tax (IHT) returns and is scrapping cheques for the payment and repayment of IHT, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

HMRC has confirmed that it is introducing new ways of processing IHT and returns (the IHT account), as well as and payments/repayments.

The normal process for signing the IHT account requires all legal personal representatives (LPRs) or trustees physically to sign the form IHT400 and IHT100. However, the self-isolation and social distancing measures in place to tackle COVID-19 are making it difficult to get these forms signed. As a result, until further notice, HMRC will accept printed signatures on IHT400 and IHT100 forms, when there is a professional agent acting, and both:

  • the names and other personal details of the LPRs or trustees are shown on the declaration page, and
  • 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.

HMRC suggests the following wording for this statement:

“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, and 
  • agreed to be bound by the declaration on (page 14 of the IHT400) or (page 8 of the IHT100." (amend as applicable)

At the same time, HMRC has confirmed it will no longer accept payment of IHT by cheque nor will it issue cheques or payable orders for the repayment of IHT.

IHT must now be paid by one of the other methods of payment listed in its guidance. HMRC recommends faster payments (online or telephone banking), CHAPS or BACS.

HMRC will make repayments directly to a bank account using faster payments. However, to receive a payment the details of the payee (name, account number and sort code) must be sent in writing to:

Inheritance Tax
HM Revenue and Customs
United Kingdom

The accompanying letter must be titled “Repayment – further details” and for applicants not using a solicitor or other agent, must be signed by all the people who signed the IHT400 or IHT100.

HMRC has confirmed it will accept the signature of an agent acting on behalf of the estate, the personal representatives or trustees, unless the name of the account that the repayment is to be sent to is different. In this case, all the people who originally signed the IHT400 or IHT100 must sign the letter.

HMRC will not issue the repayment unless it has all the information specified above, including the necessary authorisations.

The Tax Faculty understands that HMRC will amend its instructions on gov.uk to reflect these changes.