Question by Olivia Blake MP: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending probate for people who have experienced bereavement during the covid-19 lockdown and who therefore cannot meet the six month deadline for inheritance tax submission.
Answer by Jesse Norman MP: While there is no statutory deadline for making probate applications, the Government is aware of concerns about the six-month deadline for paying inheritance tax and the twelve-month deadline for filing a return. Where a taxpayer is unable to file their return on time because of COVID-19, HMRC will consider that within the scope of a reasonable excuse and as grounds for appeal against late filing penalties. The Government continues to explore all avenues to help those affected.
HMRC have confirmed that personal representatives will have to demonstrate how, in their specific circumstances, Covid-19 related issues amount to a reasonable excuse for their delay in filing an IHT return after the statutory limit (12 months after the end of the month of death). The 6-month limit for payment of IHT is unaffected. If personal representatives are unable to file an account at the 6 month point, they should estimate the IHT due and make a payment on account to prevent interest accruing.