Inheritance Tax Forms

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is complicated and difficult to navigate without expert advice. In this guide we will try to make things as clear as possible for you.

Inheritance Tax Forms

A definitive list of Inheritance Tax Forms for use in England and Wales.

Knowing the correct, inheritance tax form is important if you are attempting to complete an Inheritance Tax return yourself.


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Our friendly specialists are here to help you and can offer information and a free, no-obligation quote over the phone. 

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    Do I Need To Complete Inheritance Tax Forms?

    For most estates, there is no tax to pay and you will only need to fill in form IHT205 to give brief details of the estate.

     If there is tax to pay, or if the affairs of the deceased do not meet certain conditions, you will have to provide a formal account of the estate by filling in form IHT400 and sending it to HMRC.

    Does every estate have to pay inheritance tax?

    The inheritance tax allowance doesn’t apply between spouses and civil partners who live in the UK. This means that, if the entire estate you’re dealing with has been left to the person’s spouse or civil partner, no inheritance tax will be owed – even if the estate is over £325,000.

    What is the inheritance tax threshold for married couples (or civil partner couples)?

    The inheritance tax threshold for married couples (or civil partnerships) in the 2020/21 tax year is £325,000. However, this can be increased to £650,000 if one partner dies and leaves everything to the surviving partner. This is because spouses and civil partners inherit from each other tax-free, and they also inherit their partner’s unused inheritance tax allowance.

    Does everyone have the same inheritance tax threshold?

    The short answer: no. It’s actually possible for many people to double their inheritance tax allowance to £650,000 and here’s how.

    If someone who is married (or in a civil partnership) leaves their entire estate to their spouse, their unused inheritance tax allowance of £325,000 will also pass to their partner. This effectively doubles the surviving spouse’s inheritance tax threshold to £650,000. The same benefit also applies to people in a civil partnership.

    This means that, if someone’s spouse or civil partner dies and leaves them their entire estate, the surviving partner’s inheritance tax allowance will effectively be £650,000.

    Who pays inheritance tax?

    If there is a will, the executor is legally responsible for paying the inheritance tax bill from the estate. If there isn’t a will, this is usually handled by the administrator who in turn is also legally responsible.

    Figuring out exactly how much inheritance tax is due can be difficult, so many people choose to use a professional probate specialist when dealing with their loved one’s estate.
    Once the amount of inheritance tax owed has been calculated, this can either be paid from funds within the estate, money from the sale of assets, or through the Direct Payment Scheme (DPS). This is where inheritance tax is paid directly from the bank or building society of the person who died.

    How to avoid paying inheritance tax

    You can avoid paying inheritance tax in a number of ways, including:
    Leaving everything to a spouse or civil partner: married couples and civil partners can leave assets to one another without incurring inheritance tax.

    Leaving property to children: homeowners get an extra £175,000 added to their inheritance tax allowance if they leave property to their children, step-children, or grandchildren, taking their total inheritance tax allowance to £500,000.

    Leaving 10% of the estate to charity: if 10% of an estate is left to charity, the inheritance tax rate can be reduced from 40% to 36%, potentially cutting the amount of inheritance tax due by thousands.

    If you’re dealing with someone’s estate and want to change their will to make it more tax-efficient, you could get a legal document called a deed of variation.
    For more information on making your own will tax-efficient, please take a look at our free guide on how to avoid inheritance tax.

    You can create a living trust, this will allow you to remove £325,000 from the estate every 7 years. A couple with a shared property or assets could also create a living trust each raising the amount to £650,00 however if you within the 7 years though it will be included in the estate as a gift.  If you are young enough it is worthwhile considering a living trust especially in light of the freezing of the IHT allowances until 2026 as the property will still be going up in value. 

    When do you need to pay inheritance tax?

    Inheritance tax ideally needs to be paid by the end of the sixth month after your loved one’s death. After this point, HMRC will start charging interest. They may also charge late payment penalties, which can be as high as £3,000 if the payment is more than 12 months late. It’s therefore important to apply for probate and gain access to the estate as quickly as possible.

    How to fill out the required forms

    The main form is called an IHT400, this form is a government form that needs to be completed in England, Wales, and Scotland if the estate is liable for inheritance tax. This is a long, complex document with multiple sections for different types of assets, allowing you and HMRC to work out how much inheritance tax is due. The IHT400 form leads to a possible further 22 forms and which all need cross calculations.

    Unless you’re very familiar with tax forms and financial paperwork, IHT400 can be an extremely stressful and time-consuming form to fill out. For this reason, many people choose to use a professional probate specialist instead. contact us now on the details below or start your probate now online. If you would like an instant quote for probate try Probate Full Administration or Grant Only or get an Instant Quote using the buttons below.


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