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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Investigating no-grant cases: introduction

We have no powers to make someone take out a grant.  And in some cases there is no need for a grant to administer the estate, for example, where the estate consists solely of joint property passing by survivorship (IHTM15081).  But the accountable persons (IHTM10801), usually the personal representatives (IHTM05012) are required to deliver an account unless one of the exceptions (IHTM10804) apply and we are entitled to ask for an account if we think that one is due.

You will generally become aware that an account may be due as a result of

  • information received from elsewhere in HMRC
  • the receipt of an account from trustees reporting the termination of an interest in possession in a settlement on death, or
  • information received from third parties (IHTM09362)

If the information is received from the trustees and they let you know the name of the accountable persons then you will normally have to write to the taxpayers to ask them if and when an account is to be delivered and the likely value of the estate.  The latter may be helpful in deciding whether the estate is likely to be taxable and whether it is worth pursuing the delivery of the account.  When writing you should point out the time limits (IHTM10803) for delivering the account and say that if it is not delivered within this time then a penalty (IHTM36021) may become due.   

This part of the manual primarily deals with the situation where

  • we do not know for certain who the accountable people are, or
  • the accountable persons are not complying with the requirement to deliver an account.

In these sort of situations you should normally wait until the time limit for delivering the account has passed before beginning your investigation.  But again if at any stage it becomes clear that there is unlikely to be any liability to tax you should not continue to pursue the delivery of an account.