COVID-19 Crisis Forces Change to UK IHT Payments and Returns Processes

HMRC are scrapping cheques for the payment and repayment of Inheritance Tax (IHT) and temporarily accepting printed signatures on IHT returns, as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The introduction of new ways of processing IHT and returns is to reduce delays to its service at this time.

The normal process for signing the IHT account requires all legal personal representatives or trustees physically to sign the form IHT400 and IHT100, but in response to self-isolation and social distancing measures now in place to tackle the spread of COVID-19, HMRC are temporarily accepting printed signatures on IHT returns.

The names and other personal details of the personal representatives or trustees must be shown on the declaration page, and the account must include a clear and unambiguous statement from the agent to confirm that all the personal representatives or trustees have seen the IHT account and have agreed to be bound by the declaration.

HMRC have also offered guidance on the wording needed to help ensure that all forms are accepted, suggesting the following structure:

"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)."

HMRC will no longer accept payment of IHT by cheque, nor will they issue cheques or payable orders for the repayment of IHT. The tax must now be paid by any of the other methods specified in its guidance, namely using online or telephone banking, CHAPS or Bacs or at a bank or building society.

Repayments will be made direct to a named bank account using the Faster Payments Service.

To receive a repayment, the payee details must be sent to HMRC in a letter signed by all the signatories to the IHT400 or IHT100. This letter must be headed 'Repayment – further details'.

The GOV.UK website provides further information on paying IHT.