HMRC delays and standard letters

Has there been a further dip in the quality of responses from HMRC Inheritance tax in relation to trust IHT? I’m used to delays of five or six months but my experiences in the last two weeks include:

  • letters that are standard print outs, without much review or thought on specific points;
  • chasing a penalty without any mention of the ongoing appeal;
  • staff, when telephoned, saying that they have not been trained on trusts and are unable to answer fairly basic questions or locate documents.

Am I having an unlucky run or is this common?

Lee Blackshaw
Blackshaw Tax Ltd

It’s not just you. I have raised a number of complaints with HMRC at this point. Simple matters are taking ages to sort. The telephone often goes unanswered. Appeals are ignored. Self-assessment notices and penalties are issued when the return has already been filed. And so on.

HMRC is a mess right now. I even had one case where a clearly overstressed agent became abusive over the telephone when he felt I was unsympathetic about government cutbacks and changing IT systems. All I did was point out that these were not excuses that HMRC is in the habit of accepting from taxpayers. That’s when I started making formal complaints.

Taurean Drayak
Elliot, Bond & Banbury

I too am experiencing great delays with HMRC Inheritance Tax at the moment, both in Probate and trust matters.

In a trust, where the deceased life tenant was not domiciled in the UK and had no UK assets, I have been waiting since early October for a letter to confirm that the trust has no liability to inheritance tax. When I sent a reminder in January, I received a reply saying that HMRC were “looking at forms IHT100 and 400 in more detail” when in fact there was no Form IHT400 submitted, as there was no need for an English Grant in the deceased life tenant’s estate. I cannot understand why it is taking so long to deal with this relatively straightforward matter and can only assume that there is a staff shortage or a lack of staff with the necessary experience.

In Probate matters I have been waiting for over two months to receive the certificate for Probate IHT421 in three estates, two of which are well below the nil rate band but neither estate is excepted. The third is a taxable estate where the tax has been paid.

Cliona O’Tuama

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I sent through IHT 100 and IHT 100C in August 2016 to the trusts office, only heard back from them last week. This is almost 9 months.
On top of that , their calculations were wrong. I called and asked them to correct them. I have been waiting a week for this, even though the lady said she will review ASAP.
I asked if she would like to see my calculations, she said to send it by FAX - they don’t accept emails…

Trusts & Tax Accountant