HMRC Trusts and Estates June 2020 Newsletter
03 July 2020
Posted by: HMRC
Updated 22 June 2020
- Trusts - Self Assessment payment on account
- Trusts helpline
- Operational update
- Repayments by ‘Faster payments’
- Paying by cheque for Inheritance Tax
- Inheritance Tax and probate webchat and helplines
- Repayment and ‘nil’ calculations
- Wet signatures on accounts and returns
- Change of process for form IHT421
- Electronic submission of IHT forms
- Inheritance Tax valuations
- Reasonable excuse
- Tax-exempt national heritage property and coronavirus
Welcome to the June 2020 edition of the HMRC Trusts and Estates Newsletter.
We do not have a mailing list for the newsletter.
Trusts - Self Assessment payment on account
The Chancellor announced on 20 March 2020 that to support the self-employed, the next Self Assessment payment on account is being deferred until January 2021. The deferral applies to Self Assessment payments on account, including trustees who are paying tax in respect of a trust.
The measure was announced to help those Self Assessment customers who may find it hard to pay their July payment on account because of the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on their finances. However, customers who have not been affected in this way can, and should, pay their July payment on account by the 31 July 2020 due date.
You may be aware that there have been periods when the Trusts Helpline call response times have increased. This is because HMRC has deployed some of its staff to help the public access the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. To help mitigate the impact of the reduced Trusts helpline service, HMRC has introduced a mailbox so that at busy times you can email us directly.
To use this service, email email@example.com. Provide a very brief outline of your query along with your contact number and we’ll aim to get back to you within one working day. Do not provide any personal details in your email. When the Trusts Helpline returns to normal, we plan to remove this option.
Despite the unique challenges presented by coronavirus, Inheritance Tax and Trusts operational areas are currently receiving post as normal. We are processing accounts and dealing with post in line with published targets. So that we can work more flexibly, help our customers with issues around social-distancing, and continue to maintain our service, we have adapted some of HMRC’s processes. Below is a summary of these changes that we have introduced.
Repayments by ‘Faster payments’
At the beginning of April 2020, HMRC stopped making repayments by payable order and switched to using ‘Faster payments’ to repay directly to customers’ bank accounts. This means you’ll get your repayments more quickly, once HMRC has processed them. To repay using ‘Faster payments’ we need to know the bank account number and sort code of the account we are paying into. If we need this additional information, we will write to you to ask for it.
We will accept an agent’s signature on behalf of the personal representatives or trustees, unless you request to change the account that HMRC should repay into. In that case, all the people who originally signed the form IHT400 or form IHT100 must sign the letter. All Inheritance Tax forms that include a repayment authority, including the form IHT400 – Inheritance Tax Account, have been updated to include space for this additional information.
For customers applying without the help of a solicitor or other agent, the letter containing this information must be signed by all the people who originally signed the form IHT400 or form IHT100.
Paying by cheque for Inheritance Tax
From 6 April 2020 we stopped accepting cheques as a method of payment for Inheritance Tax. Other methods to pay are listed on the Inheritance Tax payments page.
Inheritance Tax and probate webchat and helplines
HMRC is pleased to announce our new webchat service for both Inheritance Tax and probate queries. You can access webchat from our Inheritance Tax: general enquiries page. HMRC has increased the capacity of the Inheritance Tax and probate helplines by training more people to help our customers and to meet anticipated extra demand.
Repayment and ‘nil’ calculations
With many staff working from home, HMRC is currently unable to print and issue repayment calculations, or calculations where the balance to pay is ’nil’. However, we’ll normally write to you to tell you the amount of tax and interest we’ve calculated that’s now due or repayable. If you think we’ve made a mistake in our calculations, call the Inheritance Tax helpline on 0300 123 1072.
Wet signatures on accounts and returns
We recognise that it’s difficult for personal representatives or trustees to physically sign forms IHT400, IHT100 and IHT205 with current social-distancing measures in place.
To help customers, we’ve agreed a new temporary process. Until further notice we’ll accept accounts and returns without wet signatures from professional agents if:
- the names and personal details of the personal representatives or trustees are shown on the declaration page
- the account has been seen by all the personal representatives or trustees and they all agree to be bound by the declaration
The agent must include one of the following statements:
- IHT100 - As the agent acting on their behalf, I confirm that all the people whose names appear on the declaration page of this IHT100 have seen the IHT100 and agreed to be bound by the declaration on page 8 of the IHT100.
- IHT205 - As the agent acting on their behalf, I confirm that all the people whose names appear on the declaration page of this IHT205 have seen the IHT205 Return and agreed to be bound by the declaration on page 8 of the IHT205.
- IHT400 - As the agent acting on their behalf, I confirm that all the people whose names appear on the declaration page of this IHT400 have seen the IHT400 and agreed to be bound by the declaration on page 14 of the IHT400.
Change of process for form IHT421
HMRC has changed the process for dealing with forms IHT421 – ‘Probate Summary’ for grants in England and Wales. We’re now emailing these forms directly to HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) in all cases, rather than returning the forms to you. When we’ve done this, we’ll either write to you or include a note on the calculations to tell you what we’ve done.
This new process means that customers will get their grant more quickly. To make the probate process as quick and smooth as possible we advise customers to send their application for a grant to HMCTS, 15 working days after they have sent their form IHT400 to HMRC. The form IHT421 has been amended to reflect this process change.
The process for confirmation in Scotland is different to the probate process in England and Wales. We’ll continue to send the letter of confirmation (SL189) back to you, for you to forward to the Sheriff’s court with your C1 application. You need to do this so that the requirement set by the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service can be met.
Electronic submission of IHT forms
In response to requests from agents to submit accounts electronically, HMRC has explored a number of solutions. We’re now pleased to offer electronic submission of forms IHT400 and IHT100 through a trial of Dropbox. If you’re an agent, you can now use Dropbox to submit both IHT400 and IHT100 accounts where it’s not possible or practical to submit them by post. You do not need any special software or to have Dropbox installed to submit those accounts in this way. However, you’ll need to contact us first to use this service. Dropbox is not available for any other form.
If you wish to use Dropbox to submit accounts, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s no cost to use Dropbox for this purpose. If you successfully submit your Inheritance Tax account using Dropbox, we’ll not ask you to submit the same account on paper at a later date.
Inheritance Tax valuations
We are aware that some customers have questions about valuing some types of property for Inheritance Tax, with the current coronavirus measures in place. There’s guidance on how to value property in the form IHT400 notes. This guidance covers estimated values and tells you that if you’re having difficulty, you may include the best provisional estimate you can. You’ll need to list the boxes that contain provisional estimates in box 121 of form IHT400 and the correct figure as soon as you know it.
We’ve updated the guidance on reasonable excuse to clarify that where customers have not been able to file their account on time, due to the impacts of coronavirus, this will be treated as a ‘reasonable excuse’.
Tax-exempt national heritage property and coronavirus
Where properties or assets have been given relief under the Conditional Exemption Tax Incentive Scheme because of their importance to the national heritage there’s an obligation to provide public access. At the current time we understand that it may not be possible for owners to meet their obligations due to social distancing measures and health concerns.
Customers should follow the relevant health authority’s social distancing guidance if they’re the owner of a national heritage property.
Find further information about this in Capital taxation and tax-exempt heritage assets guidance.