Issue of stamped IHT421

I know that this subject has come up before, but with the impending undoubtable increase in probate fees, time is of the essence when it comes to submitting probate applications, and any undue delay on the part of the person doing this is likely to cause upset and possibly a claim if the estate suffers what could be a substantial increase in probate fee due to this. My main concern, however, is the delay in receiving the stamped IHT 421 back from HMRC. For example, I sent the IHT 400 and IHT 421 to HMRC on 6 April. On the same day I instructed the deceased’s bankers to pay the tax. I received a letter from the bank dated 11 April confirming that electronic payment had been made on that day. As I had not received the IHT 421, yesterday, I telephoned HMRC and after about 20 minutes was able to speak with an officer who told me that the matter had been dealt with on the 14th, but that it takes 10 working days for the form to find its way back to us and that I should expect to receive it on the 28th. I expressed my dissatisfaction with this service but the officer did not really comment. Surely it is not beyond the capability of the officer who stamps the IHT 421 to put it in an envelope and place this in the post-out tray? I would gladly send a prepaid 1st class envelope, but in any case we use DX. are others experiencing this type of delay?

Patrick Moroney
BWL solicitors

iht421s seem to come back almost by return if there is no tax to pay, but can take up to 6 weeks at the moment if there is tax.

Simon Northcott

I have similar issues with HMRC, and have done for about the last six months or so. It took me three months to receive stamped IHT421s in cases where we either paid the tax immediately, or there was no tax to pay.

I also use the online portal to get IHT reference numbers (which you need to complete IHT423), and it is currently taking weeks to receive the requested reference number, despite receiving an almost instantaneous email confirming that the application has been received. Why can’t this email contain the reference number?

Taurean Drayak
Elliot, Bond & Banbury

I understand that HMRC have stopped using the DX system since 1st April,
even though their procedures and forms are not updated to show this
(which is a little misleading). I used to put the firm’s DX address on
the 421, as I was told that if a postal address was used on this form,
then it would be returned by second class post - which seems to take
about a week (I don’t think I exaggerate). I do not think that the
Inland Revenue will have upgraded their postal system to sending these
by first class post (given the increased costs burden that will arise as
a result), but I am happy to be corrected. I don’t think sending an SAE
would help either, as it is quite possible for attachments to go missing
from the main body of your submission.

Vicky Burdett
Parchment Law Group LLP

I submitted two IHT421 at the end of March, tax has been paid on both and I am still waiting for the stamped IHT421 to be issued. I did try to ring HMRC but gave up after about 20 minutes and wrote instead.

Ann Donnelly
Moore and Tibbits

I must be lucky , but it was an estate where no IHT was payable. I submitted forms on 7th April and received a call on 15th April from Winchester Probate Registry stating that they had received the IHT421 direct, could we send the sworn Oath so that they can process. I wondered if they had changed steps but maybe not.

On a separate note I have spoken to HMRC on another matter and was advised that steps that were taking 5 working days now will be taking 12 weeks!

Monika Patel
QualitySolicitors Stapletons

I don’t think the steps have changed. Could it be that in completing 81 of IHT 421 you inserted the Winchester Probate Registry in the top right hand box which is only to be done where personal applications are being made - see the notes on that page.

Patrick Moroney
BWL solicitors