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Tips for returns for deceased individuals and estates


Published: 21 Nov 2023 Update History

HMRC has issued a set of tips and reminders about self assessment returns for deceased persons and estates in administration.

HMRC’s Agent Issue 114 includes advice for self assessment tax returns for deceased individuals and estates in administration.  

Repayment claims 

When notified of a taxpayer’s death, the agent authorisation held on HMRC’s systems ceases. An agent acting for the personal representative (PR) must submit a new 64-8 to act in respect of the deceased’s records. 

When making a repayment claim for a deceased individual’s self assessment tax return (SATR), an agent should ensure that HMRC has been notified of the PR before submission of the SATR. The agent should also ensure a valid 64-8 is in place to allow the repayment request to be processed smoothly. 

Reactivating self assessment records for deceased persons 

HMRC is currently experiencing delays in reactivating closed self assessment records for deceased individuals. A self assessment record may need to be reopened where the deceased had more income or gains to be reported before death than expected. 

In these cases, HMRC recommends sending a paper return using the deceased’s unique taxpayer reference (UTR). Alternatively, agents can call the bereavement helpline to ask for the record to be reactivated so an electronic return can be submitted.  

PRs must send a paper return in respect of the tax year of death. However, authorised tax agents can file either a paper return or an electronic tax return covering the tax year of death.  

Bereavement helpline and HMRC delays 

Where agents or PRs have not received a response from HMRC for more than two months, HMRC recommends making contact with the specialist bereavement helpline. This includes delays in responding to requests for a refund or a payment reference. 

Estates becoming complex during administration period 

PRs are only required to complete a SATR for complex estates. Simple estates can be handled through a different informal estate process

Where an estate becomes complex part way through a tax year, the PRs must submit a SATR for the estate in respect of that tax year and any future tax years. The PRs may also decide to submit an SATR for previous years in which the estate was not complex. In these cases, it should be clearly stated in the covering letter that the estate was not complex in the previous years. This should mean that the earlier year submission is not subject to a late submission penalty. 

PRs and agents can submit an in-year 2023/24 paper SATR on completion of a complex estate’s administration period during the current tax year. The 2022/23 Trust and Estate Tax Return (SA900) should be used, with the top clearly marked to show the 2023/24 tax year. 

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