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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Communications: Incoming correspondence: acknowledgements/holding letters

If a case cannot be dealt with promptly or needs to be referred to another part of the office, you should examine any correspondence on it to see whether an acknowledgement or interim reply is needed. It is particularly important to acknowledge letters from personal applicants (IHTM02161) who tend to expect a more rapid service than professional firms do.

The acknowledgement should generally be by

  • Standard Letter SL58 if the District Valuer (IHTM23000) or Shares and Assets Valuation (SAV) report is outstanding, or
  • Standard Letter SL60 where something other than matters dealt with by the District Valuer or SAV remains unresolved.

In any case the acknowledgement should be sent within 15 working days of the date of receipt of the letter.

You must send an acknowledgement if you are referring a file to

  • an advisory team
  • any other Section or Team

10 working days or more after correspondence has been received.

If you receive a referral within 10 working days of the receipt of the post in IHT and still hold it on the 15th working day it is your responsibility to send an acknowledgement indicating when a substantive reply will be made. The taxpayer should be clearly told the reason for the anticipated delay within 15 working days.

Normally you should explain your actions to the taxpayer or their agents. However where a file is referred for advice on whether a penalty (IHTM36000) is due or to Debt Management & Banking for the first time, it may not be appropriate to mention the involvement or interest of these Sections at this stage. The reply should simply say that the matter is being considered or that you are seeking advice.