HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Claims and time limits: how to make a claim

You should check the other guidance available on GOV.UK from HMRC as Brexit updates to those pages are being prioritised before manuals.

Unlike most exemptions and relief for Inheritance Tax (IHT), the personal representatives must make a formal claim to transfer any unused nil rate band from the estate of the deceased’s spouse or civil partner (IHTA84/S8B). The claim is made using form IHT402 which is one of the supplementary schedules to form IHT400. The personal representatives should include with their claim the following documents from the first death:

  • a copy of the grant of representation (Confirmation in Scotland) – or if no grant was taken out, a copy of the death certificate,
  • if the spouse or civil partner left a Will, a copy of it
  • a copy of any Deed of Variation or similar documents in relation to the estate, for example an appointment from a Will Trust in which no qualifying interest in possession subsists (IHTM16060) made within 2 years of death.

Where an appointment has been made under a Will Trust in favour of a beneficiary who was dead at the date of the appointment (regardless of whether or not the beneficiary survived the testator) you should refer to IHTM35183.

Where the time limit (IHTM43007) is approaching, you may allow the personal representatives to make a provisional claim if they are having difficulty getting all the documents. In these circumstances, you can help the claimants by telling them that

Where the personal representatives don’t make a claim to transfer unused nil rate band, perhaps because there is no need to take out a grant, any other person liable for tax on the survivor’s death, for example, the trustees of a settlement or the donee of a gift, may make a claim, but only when the initial period for claim by the personal representatives (IHTM43007) has passed. 

In these cases, those making the claim should use form IHT216, which can be downloaded from the HMRC website only. The current prints of the form ask for more documents than are listed above and on form IHT402. You may accept the claim made on IHT216 as long as the documents listed above are supplied.