This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Claims and time limits: late claims

Under IHTA84/S8B(3)(b), an officer of Revenue & Customs has the discretion to admit a late claim. 

The most common example is likely to be where there is a dispute which must be settled before the identity of the personal representatives will be known. If the dispute means that a claim cannot be made within the two year period, there is already a statutory extension to that period of three months beginning with the date the personal representatives first act as such (IHTM43007). But where this is still insufficient time for the recently identified personal representatives to make their claim, you may admit a claim outside this three month period where the personal representatives can show that they or their agents have been actively pursuing matters since the Court decision.

You may admit a late claim in the following circumstances.

An event beyond the claimant’s control

In general, we will accept a late claim if the claimant can show that an event beyond their control prevented them from making their claim within the permitted period. If the claimant was able to manage the rest of their private or business affairs during the period in question, we are unlikely to accept that they were genuinely prevented from making the claim on time.  Examples of situations that we may consider as an event beyond the claimant’s control include those where

  • the claim was posted in good time but an unforeseen event disrupted the normal postal service and led to the loss or delay of the claim,
  • the records necessary to make the claim were lost through fire, flood or theft and the records required to make the claim could not be replaced in time for it to be made within the permitted period,
  • the claimant was so seriously ill that they were prevented from dealing with the claim within the permitted period and from that date to the time the claim was made. If an illness involves a lengthy stay in hospital or convalescence, the claimant is expected to have made arrangements for completing and making the claim on time. But there may be circumstances where this is not possible and we may accept these as a valid reason,
  • the serious illness of a close relative or partner will be regarded as a valid reason for a delay in claiming, but only if the situation took up a great deal of the claimant’s time and attention during the period from the end of the permitted period to the date the claim was made, and steps had already been taken to make the claim on time,
  • a close relative or partner died shortly before the end of the permitted period and the necessary steps had already been taken to make the claim on time.

Other circumstances

There may be cases where, looking at all the circumstances, we will accept a late claim even where the claimant cannot show that the reasons for the late claim were beyond their control. Essentially, this will be where the claimant can show that they were unaware – and could not reasonably have been aware – that they were entitled to make the claim.

It is likely that such cases will involve a number of relevant factors. The claimant or their agent should make the late claim and provide a full explanation of the factors that they wish to be taken into account.

In all cases where a late claim is made, you should refer the case to your manager to ensure that late claims are dealt with consistently.

See also (IHTM43034) sequential marriages where a claim was not made on the intervening marriage and (IHTM43041) legitim.