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Concern about number of IHT helpline calls

28 September 2009
Issue: 4225 / Categories: News , Inheritance Tax
HMRC wants agents to go online for information

HMRC’s probate and inheritance tax helpline dealt with more than 300,000 calls and requests for forms in the period from April 2008 to March 2009.

The Revenue is concerned that the helpline is being overburdened with queries from practitioners regarding topics about which there is information available on the department’s website.

The main aim of the helpline is ‘to help executors, administrators, trustees and other liable people to understand their responsibilities in respect of inheritance tax on estates,’ say HMRC. They recommend that practitioners read the relevant sections of the notes accompanying the inheritance tax forms.

The Revenue adds that the IHT helpline will not, for example, comment on the tax implications of proposed or hypothetical situations or other types of tax planning.

Property valuations

Where the value of a property has been agreed and tax has been paid, that valuation is final, say HMRC.

The valuation can only be re-opened if it can be shown that information affecting the value of the property, that was available at the time of the valuation, was not taken into account, or new information has come to light which would reasonably have been available at the time of the original valuation.

The recent fall in property values alone is not sufficient reason to re-open an earlier value, as that will have been taken into account at the date of death.

With regard to any increase in value, the taxman says that if instructions for the valuation of a property were given on the correct basis, any uplift in value that is agreed is unlikely to attract a penalty.

Whether or not the liable persons exercised reasonable care, depends on the actual steps that were taken.

For example, was professional advice sought, were instructions given on the correct basis, was the valuer’s attention drawn to particular features of the property, or was anything unusual about the valuation questioned?

Tax pool calculator

HMRC’s tax pool calculator is now available. Figures are entered onto this to calculate a discretionary trust’s tax pool.

For more information, see the HMRC Inheritance Tax and Trusts Newsletter.

Issue: 4225 / Categories: News , Inheritance Tax
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