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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Human Rights and penalties: what you should say at a meeting

You may have arranged a meeting, or the taxpayers or their agent suggested one, in order to facilitate your enquiries. During the course of that meeting facts may be given which point to the account, information or document provided being incorrect. Or the facts might indicate delays in correcting the account, information or documents, such that it is clear you will have to consider the penalty implications of IHTA84/S247 or IHTA84/S248. If so you should tell the taxpayer about penalties and that they do not have to co-operate with your enquiries. Cover the same points (IHTM36403) as you would in an opening letter but in your own words.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

If the taxpayer says that they will not answer any questions you may well want to tell them about the formal powers (IHTM32191) available to this office to obtain information. You should then hand to the taxpayer and agent copies of the leaflet IHT 13 and the Public Funding leaflet. Ask if the taxpayer understands what you have said about penalties and explain again if they do not. At this stage, if they are willing to co-operate, you should then invite the taxpayer to explain and provide any further clarification or disclosures. The note of the meeting should record what was said, and a copy should be sent to the taxpayer.

If a meeting is held with the taxpayer’s agent only and during the course of this meeting the agent begins to mention disclosures or omissions, you should explain our position on penalties and the fact that their client is not obliged to co-operate. But you should go on to say that without the taxpayer’s understanding and agreement you are no longer in a position to continue with the meeting or discuss any disclosures or omissions. Unless it is then possible to make direct contact with the taxpayer it will instead be necessary for you to write direct to the taxpayer (copy to agent) explaining the penalty position before proceeding any further with your enquiries.