Can the Inheritance tax process be simplified?
The Office of Tax Simplification (YES, there is such a thing!) have published their first report on Inheritance Tax, looking at the views and experiences of over 3,500 participants.
Some key findings of the report show:
Where people were not using an Adviser to assist with the probate process, the executors were spending in excess of 50 hours on administration of the Estate.
- Participants stated that ‘obtaining Probate’ and ‘completion of the relevant forms’ were the “most time-consuming” tasks in administering the Estate.
- Concerns were raised over submission of Inheritance Tax forms even where no Inheritance Tax is payable.
- 65% of participants stated that they “still had to provide significant amounts of information” in relation to the Estate regardless of whether Inheritance Tax was payable or not.
In the tax year 2015-2016, Inheritance was payable on only 24,500 Estates, however, 275,000 Inheritance Tax forms were completed and returned to HMRC. Thus showing that even where the Estate may seem small and simple, forms may still cause complications.
The key recommendation from the Office of Tax Simplification, following this report is:
This seems an ideal solution, in principle, however this is a large, not to mention expensive and time-consuming, task to achieve. A digital system for the whole process could allow for a speedier and much more simple procedure for the whole process from obtaining probate through to reporting on the Estate and payment of correct Inheritance Tax where applicable.
However, we will wait to see for such action to be taken and for now work with the system as it is.
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