With the country under lockdown over the last few months as part of the response to Coronavirus, the ‘new normal’ has seen all of us working differently to how we have before. With this has come an inevitable impact on timescales for everything, from food deliveries and post, to how quickly customer service centres are able to reply to all but the most urgent calls.
For those of us who are having to deal with tragic loss and then the administration of a loved one’s estate, surely, then, the Revenue would permit us some breathing space on the usual Inheritance Tax filing deadlines?
The short answer is ‘perhaps’.
What are the deadlines?
When someone passes away, there are certain dates and deadlines which begin to run, harsh as that seems, and particularly when Inheritance Tax is in issue.
Those dealing with the administration of the estate have one year from the person’s death to file the Inheritance Tax Account, in which the assets and liabilities of a person’s estate are recorded. In order to produce this Account to the Revenue in the first place, the Executors or Administrators need to complete a number of steps to gather the relevant information. In the current climate, banks and other organisations are understandably taking longer to respond, due to their own staffing levels and home-working.
As well as this, other deadlines may include:
- Six months after the end of the month of death to pay the Inheritance Tax ‘due’, otherwise interest begins to run;
- Two years from the date of death to complete a Deed of Variation in order to claim various tax effects;
- One or four years, depending on the assets involved, to claim back Inheritance Tax for losses on sale.
Can I have an extension?
The Revenue does permit late filing of the Inheritance Tax Account without penalty where they consider there to be a ‘reasonable excuse’.
The government has indicated that Coronavirus would fall within this category, but what is still unclear is what the boundaries are: do you have to have had Coronavirus to have a reasonable excuse, or is the current situation as a whole thats included?
The Revenue has indicated, though, that there will be no relaxation of other time limits. So, if you have Inheritance Tax to pay on your loved one’s estate, the Revenue will start to charge interest six months after they passed away, regardless of Coronavirus and how long things are taking.
This does seem a harsh view to take and we at Tozers are joining with our industry societies to feed back to the Revenue how difficult this may be.
What can I do?
Do take proper, full advice as soon as you can about the options available and deadlines which may be involved. Our Later Life Planning Team has specialist knowledge in this area and would be happy to help you and your family with guidance and advice in this area.