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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Communications: Personal applicants: telephone conversations with personal applicants

Note: The instructions on this page are in addition to the general instructions on use of telephones (IHTM02191) and should be read alongside these.
  • You may find it easier to resolve some questions you have on the phone, or to find out what is happening if the Personal Applicant (PA) is not replying
  • When speaking to a PA on the telephone you should remember that the PA knew or was related to the deceased and has suffered a comparatively recent bereavement
  • When making a call, you should start by checking it is convenient to discuss the matter now. If not, make alternative arrangements to call back or for them to call you
  • It will save time if you are properly prepared when making a call. You should be aware of what information you need. You should think about:

    • what you want to ask
    • how you will respond to the likely range of answers
    • what other questions you might need to ask
    • what information you want to give
    • the likely response from the PA
    • how you will respond
    • what the PA might ask you, and
    • how you might answer
  • It may help you to write a checklist to make sure you do not miss anything.
  • You should make detailed notes (IHTM02196) of the conversation as a record for the file, on the telephone note template (IHTM02159). This is particularly important in case of misunderstandings over what was said.
  • During the call, make sure you listen carefully to what the PA says

    • you can check that you have done this by summing up what has been said, and
    • what each of you has promised to do as a result of the call
  • After each call, except the most straightforward, you should consider writing to the PA confirming

    • what was discussed or resolved, or
    • repeating the information you gave