HMRC Income From Inheritance Tax Investigations Hits Four-Year High

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Losing someone you love is always an extremely difficult time, but this can be made all the more stressful if you are left with the responsibility of administering the estate and dealing with probate.

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has recently reported that they have taken an additional £274 million following investigations into 5,638 estate administrations for the tax year 2019-2020. The report shows a four-year high in takings as a result.

As with many other legal areas such as conveyancing or the creation of a Will, there is an increasing trend for individuals to undertake the Probate process themselves, acting under the hope that they will be able to save themselves money, instead of instructing a professional firm to undertake the process. The rules around probate and estate administration can be complex, and lay executors can make potentially costly mistakes which they may be personally liable for, and that ignorance of the law and taxation is no defence.

As well as having to pay any unpaid tax and interest should an executor/administrator make an error, they may also be liable to penalties of up to 100% of the tax that is due – this depends on the severity of the negligence and whether or not the error is disclosed.

So whilst it may seem that a saving is being made initially by not instructing a professional firm to undertake the Probate process, the risks involved are potentially, and personally, high.

At Bennett Griffin, our highly experienced Estate Administration Team will be delighted to guide you through all that is required for the efficient distribution of the estate on behalf of the Executors or Administrators. To discuss your particular circumstances, please get in touch with our expert team today by calling 01903 229999, emailing or by completing the contact form below.

Disclaimer: Please note that this update is not intended to be exhaustive or be a substitute for legal advice. The application of the law in this area will often depend upon the specific facts and you are advised to seek specific advice on any given scenario.