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New contact options for HMRC on trusts and IHT

22 June: HMRC has introduced a new webchat service and a dedicated email address to reduce the impact of redeploying trusts helpline staff to support coronavirus schemes.

In its latest Trusts and Estates newsletter HMRC confirms that response times on its trusts helpline have increased because of the redeployment of staff to work on the Self-employment Income Support Scheme. To mitigate the impact HMRC has temporarily introduced a dedicated mailbox trustsfeedback@hmrc.gov.uk which can be used to arrange a call back.

Agents are told to provide a very brief outline of the query, with no personal details about the client, along with a contact number and HMRC aims to call back within one working day.

HMRC has also introduced a webchat service for IHT and probate queries. This can be accessed from the HMRC Inheritance Tax: general enquiries page. When using webchat for client specific queries the agent is taken through the usual HMRC security questions; a copy of the webchat can be downloaded and retained.

ICAEW’s Tax Faculty has previously reported on the operational changes that HMRC has made to accommodate new ways of working during the coronavirus pandemic, including electronic signatures on IHT forms, changes to arrangements for payments and repayments and a change to the process for form IHT421.

Alongside summarising these changes, the newsletter also confirms that HMRC has been exploring a number of solutions to allow electronic submission of forms IHT400 and IHT100. Agents can now use Dropbox to submit both forms where it’s not possible or practical to submit them by post.

Agents do not need any special software or to have Dropbox installed to submit these forms, but they do need to contact HMRC in advance to set up the service, by emailing iht.agents@hmrc.gov.uk.

Agents will need to assess for themselves the security implications of using Dropbox but the Tax Faculty understands that the system being used by HMRC does have some enhanced security features.

The newsletter also confirms that the deferral of the second self assessment payment on account for 2019/20 to 31 January 2021 also applies to trusts that have been affected by COVID-19.