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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Grants on credit: circumstances in which a grant on credit may be considered

Impossible to obtain funding

Sometimes the nature of the assets in the estate means they are not considered sound security for a loan even though they may be valuable. In this situation we may consider postponing payment on delivery but only if the personal representative (PR) can show they have made every effort to obtain funding and all these attempts have been unsuccessful.

Delaying the grant is to the detriment of the Exchequer

We may also consider postponing payment on delivery if non-payment of the tax:

  • substantially delays the issue of a grant, and
  • this is to the detriment of the Exchequer.


Robert wants to apply for a grant of Letters of Administration for his aunt’s estate. He knows the estate has a significant value but the precise details cannot be obtained without the authority of the grant. The banks will not make a loan without the security of the title documents and money cannot be advanced without producing the grant. The law says that a grant cannot be issued without paying the tax but Robert cannot pay the tax. He cannot use the assets in the estate and does not have the means to pay the tax himself.

Without the grant there might be significant delay in settling the tax debt. This may put the Exchequer at risk of losing the tax, especially if the nature of the estate assets could alter in value. A grant on credit could be the key to breaking the deadlock and we should consider it as an option.

Non-resident Personal Representatives

On the other hand, you should not consider postponing payment of the tax due on delivery of an account by a non-resident PR (IHTM38201) without valuable security. For example a first charge on immovable property with a value that is far more than the tax debt. Alternatively, a professional UK resident attorney could be appointed to make the application for probate on behalf of the non-resident PR.

Each case must be considered on its own merits but a grant on credit should only be agreed where:

  • the PR is experiencing genuine difficulty paying the tax and has exhausted all possible sources of funding (IHTM05124) and it does not put the Exchequer at risk
  • we have taken all possible action to ensure that the debt is paid as soon as possible after the grant (IHTM05127).