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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Communications: General instructions: file weeding

Weeding unnecessary paperwork makes files easier to read and reduces storage. You should make sure that documents in files are filed in a logical and chronological order and that any unnecessary items are removed.

You should weed the file as the case progresses, so it doesn’t all have to be done by the person closing the file later.

If you are not sure whether you should weed an item (for instance if there is no other audit trail to show what has happened) you should keep it. Any item of post received from a taxpayer or other part of the department could be selected for post monitoring, or the file might be selected for a quality review. If there is no audit trail an item of post might fail the post turnaround survey or it may be unclear what action was taken. You should make a suitable COMPASS note or other note to show what has happened.

PC&S death files

Many PC&S matters are noted on COMPASS or elsewhere on the file, so keeping the paperwork does not add any value. Caseworkers should remove the following documents, as the case progresses;

  • VOA1s with the caseworker when the District Valuer’s final report has been received (but not VOA2)
  • Sage printouts
  • Old calculations (but not grossing, interaction or manual templates)
  • Receipts from deposits, but not those to be sent to the customer
  • VAL 70s, once the value is settled
  • Duplicate letters and faxes
  • Acknowledgements from the taxpayer or agent, where no additional information has been received
  • Accounts for unquoted company shares (not sole trader/partnership), once sent to Shares and Assets Valuation (SAV) (you should send the originals to SAV without taking a copy)
  • SAV paperwork once the values are settled
  • Chattels valuations once the values are agreed
  • Informal internal notes which add no value

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PC&S Managers and PCTS

You should check how well the file has been weeded when you review the file and raise any concerns with the caseworker.