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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

The District Valuer: Introduction

We are responsible for deciding the extent of the deceased’s or transferor’s estate and whether or not a particular estate satisfies the requirements for the relief. The role of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is to provide informed professional advice on what qualifies as agricultural property (IHTM24030) and any consequential valuations, and if so requested, to negotiate with taxpayers in specific cases. In all but the most unusual cases Compliance caseworkers should obtain plans, full details of tenancies, descriptions and pictures of property, before making a referral to the District Valuer.

In Northern Ireland it is the Valuation and Lands Agency (VLA) who deal with the valuation of land. The Agency is part of the Northern Ireland Civil Service. These instructions apply equally to the VOA and VLA unless specifically stated otherwise.

If you receive a claim for agricultural relief in respect of any property within the European Economic Area (IHTM24256) but outside the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, you should refer it to Technical as soon as you receive the completed form IHT414 (IHTM24255)

When informing agents or personal applicants that you have referred agricultural land to the District Valuer, you should simply say that the District Valuers have been asked to provide their opinion of the open market and agricultural values of the land and, if appropriate, buildings. You must not give agents or personal applicants categorical assurances that agricultural relief is available until the valuation has been agreed with the District Valuer.

The general instructions for dealing with Land and Buildings apply to cases where agricultural relief may apply (IHTM23171) but particular points that you should bear in mind are

  • the tax implications, where the chargeable estate is below the threshold because of relief, but where the estate may exceed the threshold if some or all of the relief was denied,
  • whether the tax at stake warrants pursuit, and
  • the interaction with business relief (IHTM25151) and development value (IHTM24165)

Your role as an IHT caseworker is set out at IHTM24161; the role of the Valuation Office is at IHTM24165.