From the Professional Practice team: Confirmation – DON’T send HMRC the principal C1!

Q: I am acting in the estate of a deceased person where an IHT400 account requires to be submitted before confirmation of the estate can be applied for. Do I have to send the principal C1 confirmation document to HMRC for stamping before an application to the sheriff court for confirmation can be made?

A: The requirement to send a principal C1 confirmation document to HMRC, on submission of an IHT400 account, to be stamped and returned before applying for confirmation to the sheriff court ceased from 1 May 2017.

From that date, HMRC only require a copy of the C1. In line with new digital processes, HMRC will process the IHT400 account and send a certificate to the submitting solicitor confirming that inheritance tax has been paid. This certificate includes a unique reference that replaces the previous HMRC stamp.

Once the certificate has been received by the solicitor this should be submitted to the sheriff court with the principal C1 for confirmation to be granted.

This new process also applies if a corrective account C4 is required.

Since this change, HMRC have reported that in 76% of Scottish cases a principal C1, not a copy, has been submitted to them. In most instances they have been able to retrieve the principal and return this to the submitting agent; however, from 1 November 2017, HMRC processes are changing and this will no longer be possible.

From 1 November 2017, a copy C1 must be submitted. If a principal C1 is submitted HMRC will be unable to return it due to these new internal procedures.

The Law Society of Scotland, HMRC and Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service have consulted and agreed these changes with a view to improving turnaround times in HMRC’s processing of these accounts so that confirmation of a deceased’s estate may be applied for as quickly as possible.

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