Research and analysis

Bereavement letter testing

Research to help understand customers' knowledge of bereavement processes for tax and their reaction to the letters issued by HM Revenue and Customs.


Bereavement letter testing

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When a taxpayer dies, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) needs to check whether they paid the right amount of income tax up to the date of death.

To do this, HMRC currently issues a form known as the ‘R27: Reclaiming tax or paying tax when someone dies’ to the personal representative. From October 2014, HMRC are changing their process to make better use of the information it holds to finalise a taxpayer’s affairs without necessarily requesting further details from the personal representative. As part of this change, the R27 will be replaced with three new letters, one of which will be sent depending on the circumstances.

Prior to rolling out these letters were tested with customers with a particular focus on:

  • The layout
  • Clarity of the message
  • Whether the information provided is sufficient
  • The extent to which customers understood
    • what action is needed
    • when action needs to be taken
    • what business areas to contact if further help is needed
  • The suitability of the tone

HMRC are now taking on board the findings from this research to refine the letters before they are used for the first time.

Published 22 July 2014