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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Remission of interest: procedure in delay cases

You must consider whether there has been unreasonable delay on our part.  This instruction applies even if the taxpayers or their agents have not specifically requested remission of interest on grounds of delay.  Refer to your manager if you believe unreasonable delays have occurred (including any notified by an advisory branch) or if the taxpayers or their agents make such a claim.  In measuring the periods of delay any period before referring initially to another branch or sending your opening letter or other communication should be measured from the date of file creation or the date of receipt of an account or other communication where appropriate.

If such remission is requested but there have been no unreasonable delays on our part, the request should be politely refused.  The standard letter, SL7 (E), may be appropriate. 

If the amount of interest involved exceeds £5,000, your manager will refer the file to the Grade 6.

Your manager will consider whether to ask another branch or office, e.g. SAV, VOA (IHTM23002), for details of any delays in their handling of the case.

If remission is authorised, an Enf 12 should be completed.  Report the remission under code CP.

Holding letter

It is essential to send a holding letter (IHTM02091) or similar notification to the taxpayers or their agents

  • whenever referring to an advisory branch
  • when requisitioning papers and it seems unlikely that the 15 day reply target (IHTM02271) can be met.

Where your manager so directs, the advisory branch’s file should be called for.  In a case involving Shares Assets and Valuation (SAV or the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) you should send them a memo headed “Serious Delay - Immediate Please” and explain the circumstances: i.e. taxpayers request remission and our record of delays seems likely to warrant remission of interest.

The memo should also ask for a diary of action taken on the case during any periods where the delay guidelines for that branch or office have not been met together with their recommendation and explanation as to any periods qualifying for remission and/or reasons for refusal.

In VOA cases the memo should be addressed to the Valuation Office Liaison Officer (VOLO) (IHTM23121 and for SAV to SAV (HQ). Where appropriate you should ask them to collate responses and give one VOA or one SAV report.

Where a request for remission has been refused under earlier guidelines the case should not be reopened.  If the taxpayers seek to reopen the issue, refer to your manager.