Inheritance Tax Form

Inheritance Tax Form
Inheritance Tax Form
Full Overview Of Inheritance Tax Form

In the United Kingdom, inheritance tax (IHT) is an important consideration when managing an estate. It is vital to accurately complete and submit the IHT forms to comply with tax regulations and ensure a smooth transfer of assets to beneficiaries.

At DLS Solicitors, we have a deep understanding of the complexities involved in handling inheritance tax matters and are dedicated to providing comprehensive guidance. This overview aims to clarify the intricacies of IHT forms, including their components, the legal framework, and best practices for accurate completion and submission.

Understanding Inheritance Tax (IHT)

Inheritance tax is a tax on the estate (the property, money, and possessions) of someone who has died. In the UK, IHT is charged at 40% on estates exceeding the nil-rate band, which is currently set at £325,000. Various reliefs and exemptions can reduce the tax liability, such as the residence nil-rate band and charitable donations. Accurate completion of IHT forms is essential to determining the correct tax liability and ensuring compliance with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) regulations.

Crucial Inheritance Tax Forms

Several IHT forms may be required, depending on the circumstances of the estate. The most commonly used forms include:

  1. IHT205: Return of Estate Information (for excepted estates): Used when the estate is an “excepted estate” and does not require a full IHT account.
  2. IHT400: Inheritance Tax Account: Used for estates that do not qualify as excepted estates and require a detailed account of the estate’s assets and liabilities.
  3. IHT402: Claim to Transfer Unused Nil Rate Band: Used to claim the unused portion of a deceased spouse’s or civil partner’s nil-rate band.
  4. IHT403: Gifts and Other Transfers of Value: Used to report lifetime gifts and other transfers that may affect the IHT liability.
  5. IHT421: Probate Summary: Used to obtain a grant of representation from the Probate Registry.

Components of IHT205

The IHT205 form is simpler and is used when the estate’s value is below the IHT threshold and qualifies as an excepted estate. It includes:

  1. Personal Details: Information about the deceased, including full name, date of birth, date of death, and last known address.
  2. Estate Value: A summary of the estate’s value, including assets, liabilities, and any exemptions or reliefs claimed.
  3. Declaration: A declaration by the person completing the form, confirming the accuracy of the information provided.

Components of IHT400

The IHT400 form is more comprehensive and is used for larger estates or those with complex assets. It includes:

  1. Personal Details: Information about the deceased, including personal details and domicile status.
  2. Estate Details: Detailed information about the estate’s assets, liabilities, and any reliefs or exemptions claimed.
  3. Gifts and Transfers: Information about lifetime gifts and other transfers made by the deceased.
  4. Trusts: Details of any trusts associated with the deceased or the estate.
  5. Inheritance Tax Calculation: Calculations to determine the IHT liability.
  6. Declaration: A declaration by the person completing the form, confirming the accuracy of the information provided.

The administration of inheritance tax in the UK is governed by several key pieces of legislation and regulations to ensure fair and accurate tax collection:

  1. Inheritance Tax Act 1984: This act provides the primary legal framework for the assessment and payment of IHT.
  2. Finance Act 2004: This act includes various provisions related to the taxation of estates, including amendments to IHT regulations.
  3. HMRC Regulations: Detailed guidelines and regulations issued by HMRC provide specific instructions for completing IHT forms and calculating tax liabilities.

Best Practices in Completing Inheritance Tax Forms

Accurate and thorough completion of IHT forms is crucial to avoid delays, penalties, and additional scrutiny from HMRC. Here are some best practices to consider:

  1. Gather Comprehensive Information: Before starting the forms, gather all necessary information about the deceased, their assets, liabilities, and any gifts or transfers made.
  2. Understand the Forms: Take the time to read and understand each section of the forms to ensure all required information is provided accurately.
  3. Seek Professional Guidance: Consider seeking assistance from a solicitor who specialises in inheritance tax matters. Their expertise can be invaluable in navigating complex estates and ensuring compliance with legal requirements.
  4. Double-Check Details: Before submitting the forms, double-check all details for accuracy and completeness. Mistakes or omissions can lead to delays and additional scrutiny.
  5. Keep Copies: Keep copies of all completed forms and supporting documents for your records. This can be helpful if any issues arise or if additional information is requested.
  6. Timely Submission: Submit the forms in a timely manner to avoid penalties and interest charges for late payment of IHT.

Challenges in Completing Inheritance Tax Forms

Completing IHT forms can present several challenges, particularly for those unfamiliar with the process:

Complex Estates

  1. Multiple Assets: Estates with multiple types of assets, such as real estate, investments, and personal property, can be challenging to value and report accurately.
  2. Overseas Assets: If the deceased owned assets in other countries, additional legal and procedural steps may be required to value and manage these assets.

Lifetime Gifts

  1. Tracking Gifts: Accurately tracking and reporting gifts made by the deceased in the seven years prior to their death can be difficult, especially if records are incomplete.
  2. Valuation of Gifts: Determining the value of gifts at the time they were made and their impact on the IHT liability requires careful attention.

Tax Reliefs and Exemptions

  1. Applying Reliefs: Understanding and applying available tax reliefs, such as the residence nil-rate band or business property relief, can be complex.
  2. Documentation: Providing adequate documentation to support claims for reliefs and exemptions is essential to avoid disputes with HMRC.

Role of Solicitors in Completing Inheritance Tax Forms

Solicitors play a crucial role in the IHT process, providing expert guidance and support to executors and administrators. Their responsibilities include:

  1. Legal Advice: advising on the legal requirements and procedures for IHT and estate administration.
  2. Form Completion: Assisting with the accurate completion of IHT forms and ensuring that all necessary information is provided.
  3. Estate Valuation: Helping to accurately value the estate’s assets and liabilities, which is essential for tax calculations and reporting,.
  4. Tax Advice: Providing guidance on IHT and other tax matters, ensuring that all obligations are met.
  5. Dispute Resolution: Mediating disputes with HMRC and providing representation in contentious tax matters if necessary.

Case Study: Navigating Complex Inheritance Tax Forms

To illustrate the complexities involved in completing IHT forms, consider the case of an estate with diverse assets and potential tax reliefs:


Mr. Brown, a successful entrepreneur, passed away, leaving a substantial estate that included:

  • A primary residence valued at £1.5 million
  • A holiday home in Spain
  • Shares in multiple companies
  • An extensive art collection
  • Several bank accounts and investment portfolios
  • Outstanding debts, including a mortgage and business loans

Steps Taken

  1. Engagement of Professionals: The executor engaged DLS Solicitors to assist with the IHT process, including the completion of IHT forms and the valuation of the estate.
  2. Information Gathering: Detailed information was gathered about the deceased’s assets, liabilities, and lifetime gifts.
  3. Estate Valuation: Professional appraisals were obtained for the real estate, art collection, and business shares to ensure accurate valuations.
  4. Form Completion: The solicitors assisted in completing the IHT400 form, ensuring all sections were accurately filled out and all required supporting documents were included.
  5. Tax Reliefs and Exemptions: The solicitors applied for available tax reliefs, such as business property relief and the residence nil-rate band, to reduce the IHT liability.
  6. Inheritance Tax Calculation: The IHT liability was calculated, and the IHT421 form was submitted to obtain the grant of representation.


The accurate and thorough completion of the IHT forms, combined with professional legal assistance, ensured that:

  • The IHT liability was correctly calculated and paid on time.
  • The probate application was processed efficiently, with no delays or complications.
  • The estate was distributed fairly among the beneficiaries in accordance with Mr. Brown’s will.
  • Potential disputes with HMRC were preemptively addressed through clear and transparent documentation.


Please make a note of the following text:


“Inheritance tax forms are a critical part of the estate administration process, enabling the accurate assessment and payment of IHT. It’s important to understand the various IHT forms, their components, and the legal framework governing them to ensure a smooth and efficient process.

At DLS Solicitors, we are dedicated to offering comprehensive support and guidance to executors and administrators dealing with IHT forms. Our experienced team provides expert advice and professional assistance to ensure that all necessary forms are accurately completed and submitted on time to facilitate the proper administration of the estate.

Dealing with the challenges associated with completing IHT forms, such as complex estates and tracking lifetime gifts, is manageable with the right support and resources. Whether handling a simple estate or a complex portfolio of assets, understanding the importance of accurate IHT forms and their role in estate administration is crucial for navigating this important aspect of post-mortem affairs.”

Inheritance Tax Form FAQ'S

An Inheritance Tax (IHT) form is used to report the value of a deceased person’s estate to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and determine if any inheritance tax is due.

If no inheritance tax is due, typically because the estate is below the threshold or qualifies for exemptions, you should use form IHT205 (Return of Estate Information).

If inheritance tax is due, you should use form IHT400 (Inheritance Tax Account). This form is used to report detailed information about the estate and calculate the tax owed.

The inheritance tax threshold, also known as the nil-rate band, is the amount up to which an estate is not liable for inheritance tax. As of 2024, this threshold is £325,000.

You need details of the deceased person, the value of the estate, including assets, liabilities, and gifts made in the last seven years. You also need to provide information about any exemptions or reliefs that apply.

Form IHT400 requires comprehensive details about the deceased’s estate, including property, savings, investments, debts, and any gifts made in the last seven years. It also requires information about any exemptions, reliefs, and the calculation of the tax due.

IHT forms must be submitted within 12 months of the end of the month in which the person died. However, any inheritance tax due must be paid within six months of the death to avoid interest charges.

Yes, you can complete and submit IHT forms online through the HMRC website. The online service provides guidance and support for filling out the forms.

While it is possible to complete IHT forms yourself, many people seek professional help from solicitors or tax advisors, especially if the estate is complex or close to the inheritance tax threshold.

If you make a mistake on an IHT form, you should contact HMRC as soon as possible to correct it. Errors can lead to delays in processing the estate and potential penalties if not corrected promptly.


This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 11th July 2024.

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