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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Reasonable excuse: general

There is no definition of what is meant by ‘reasonable excuse’. The standard of reasonableness can vary according, for example, to the type, education and background of the taxpayer concerned. But you should bear in mind that the law gives ample time for taxpayers to complete and deliver an IHT account in most circumstances. It is the responsibility of taxpayers to

  • gather all the necessary information
  • ensure that the account is completed, and
  • send the account in by the deadline.

If taxpayers are able to manage the rest of his private or business affairs during the period which is claimed to be covered by the reasonable excuse you should not normally accept that they were otherwise prevented from delivering the account on time.

An excuse is reasonable only if some event beyond the taxpayer’s control has prevented the account from being sent in before the deadline.