Expert advice is key in estate administration

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is a complicated area and the HMRC are tightening up their investigations.

IHT is a tax on the property, money and possessions of someone who’s died but there are payments, reliefs and exemptions to consider when sorting out an estate.

Suzanne Porter, director in the Private Client team at Wake Smith Solicitors, looks at how expert advice from lawyers can save you time, money and avoid potential huge financial penalties in the long run.

“The HMRC is now looking more closely at IHT accounts with around a quarter of chargeable cases under investigation and the money that can be raised from them.

“This means that unexpected IHT bills could come your way unless you know the law inside out.

“This is key when dealing with probate applications and estate administration yourself as a lay person. If it is  handled in the wrong way, you can face huge penalties down the line.

“Under the IHT Act 1984, those liable to IHT have a duty to deliver an account to HMRC, and HMRC can make formal requests for information under its general powers and issues notices requiring information.

“Specialist solicitors with numerous years’ experience of handling estates and dealing with HMRC should be consulted.

“I have been working in the industry for 18 years and for the first time ever I recently received a call from a compliance officer at HMRC to advise me that they were the allocated officer investigating my client’s account.

“I had no concerns as the matter was being dealt by us here at Wake Smith.”

As an example a case highlighting HMRC investigations lead to HMRC contacting an heir 25 years after the first settlement of a house and farmland recovering IHT chargeable. HMRC began proceedings to enforce the charge and to collect with interest the unpaid IHT.

For more information on Inheritance Tax, Wills and to book an appointment contact Suzanne at suzanne.porter@wake-smith.com or on 0114 266 6660.

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