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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Reopening IHT liabilities: procedure

When you have a case involving one of the situations outlined at (IHTM30411) and an enquiry (IHTM29012) is still open your initial approach must be to ask yourself whether you are in a position to recover or collect the tax rather than are we prevented from doing so? 

You must first establish the facts.  Have the taxpayers acted in reliance on any assurances given by us and what actions did they take?  Have they suffered a financial detriment on the basis of our errors?  Any such enquiries must be undertaken following consultation with your manager. 

If the enquiry is closed the same procedures will apply but the question of whether we have failed to act within an ‘appropriate time’ is more critical.


Business Relief (IHTM25131) is claimed and allowed on an account (IHTM10011) assessed by solicitors.  We file the answers to our queries and close the case although it is apparent that the relief is not due.  Where the file is seen later and experience suggests that the administration of the estate has long since been completed, the ‘appropriate time’ for us to act on the replies has clearly lapsed.

On the time of reopening, as a rough guide, anything discovered within 6 months of closing a file should be reopened.  Aspects discovered on cases still open will depend on the circumstances of each case and you must consult your manager if you are in any doubt.

Once the facts have been ascertained, and specious claims dismissed, the case must be referred to your Manager. They will ensure that the correct procedures are followed to report tax lost through departmental error.

Where the advice or assurance was given by Shares and Assets Valuation (SAV), the case should be referred for consideration by the appropriate Share Valuation Consultant  who will direct how the SAV aspects should be dealt with and will advise on the question of remission.