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What is Inheritance Tax IHT421 Form and How to Use it?

Updated: Jan 22

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is a tax that is levied on the value of a person's estate after they pass away. The IHT421 form is used by the executor or personal representative of a deceased person's estate to provide a summary of the estate's assets and liabilities and to calculate any Inheritance Tax that may be owed.

Introduction to Inheritance Tax

Inheritance Tax (IHT) in the United Kingdom is a tax on the estate (the property, money, and possessions) of someone who has died. It's a pivotal aspect of estate planning and understanding the nuances of this tax is crucial for UK taxpayers. The IHT is charged at 40% on the portion of the estate exceeding the £325,000 threshold, although this rate and threshold can change. There are various exemptions and reliefs that can significantly alter the tax payable, making it vital for estate planners and executors to be well informed.

What is Inheritance Tax IHT421 Form

The Role of the IHT421 Form

The IHT421 form, also known as the Probate Summary, is a key document in the administration of an estate for tax purposes in the UK. This form provides HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) with a summary of the estate's assets and liabilities, including any gifts or transfers made during the deceased's lifetime. The information on this form is used to calculate the IHT due, if any. The form is typically completed by the executor or personal representative of the deceased's estate.

Recent Changes in the IHT421 Form Process (2024)

As of January 2024, significant changes have been made to the probate process in England and Wales. The Probate Summary, or Form IHT421, is no longer required when applying for probate. Instead, when processing the Inheritance Tax Return (Form IHT400), HMRC will provide a unique code with the relevant values to make the probate application. This change simplifies the process, reducing the number of forms to be completed and helping to prevent premature probate applications.

Exemptions and Reliefs

A critical aspect of managing IHT liabilities is understanding the available exemptions and reliefs. For example, the residence nil-rate band offers an additional threshold when the home is left to direct descendants. Additionally, gifts made more than seven years before death are typically exempt from tax, with taper relief reducing the tax rate for gifts made between 3 and 7 years prior to death.

Estate Planning Strategies

Efficient tax planning is essential to minimize the IHT burden. This might involve regularly gifting assets to reduce the estate's value, using certain types of trusts to pass assets out of the estate, purchasing life insurance policies written in trust to cover IHT liabilities, and making charitable donations, which are exempt from IHT.

Professional Advice

Given the complexity and evolving nature of IHT regulations, seeking professional advice from accountants specializing in estate planning is highly recommended. They can offer tailored strategies, insights into recent changes, and assistance with documentation and compliance.

Understanding and preparing for IHT in the UK is more important than ever in 2024. With the right knowledge, planning, and professional guidance, UK taxpayers can effectively navigate the complexities of IHT, ensuring their assets are passed on according to their wishes while minimizing the tax burden. Remember, early planning and consultation with experts are key to successful estate management.

When to Use IHT421 Form

When a person passes away, their estate – which includes all their assets and possessions – must be valued, and any debts or liabilities must be paid off before the remaining assets are distributed to their beneficiaries. In some cases, Inheritance Tax may be due on the estate, which can reduce the amount of money that is left to be distributed to beneficiaries.

The IHT421 form is used to provide HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) with a summary of the estate's assets and liabilities, along with any details of any gifts or transfers that were made during the deceased person's lifetime. This information is used to calculate whether any Inheritance Tax is due, and if so, how much.

Use this form if you’re making a request to represent in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland to outline assets in the deceased’s property that will become the belongings of the executors or non-public representatives to distribute many of the beneficiaries.

Completing the IHT421 Form: A Step-by-Step Guide

Overview of the IHT421 Form

The IHT421 form is integral to the inheritance tax process in the UK, particularly for estates in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. This form is used to outline the assets in the deceased's estate, which become the property of the executors or personal representatives for distribution among the beneficiaries. It's a comprehensive document that covers assets, liabilities, gifts, and transfers made by the deceased during their lifetime.

Completing the Inheritance Tax IHT421 Form for probate summary in the UK can be a complex and time-consuming process, but here are the general steps to follow:

  1. Gather all necessary information: You will need to collect all relevant information about the deceased person's estate, including assets, liabilities, and any gifts or transfers made in the seven years before their death.

  2. Download the Form: You can download IHT421 form from HMRC’s website.

  3. Determine the estate's value: You will need to calculate the value of the estate to determine whether or not any inheritance tax is due. This involves adding up the value of all assets, including property, investments, and personal possessions.

  4. Complete section 1 of the form: This section asks for general information about the deceased person, including their name, address, date of birth, and date of death. You will also need to provide information about the person completing the form and their relationship to the deceased.

  5. Complete section 2 of the form: This section asks for details about the estate's value, including any exemptions or reliefs that may apply.

  6. Complete section 3 of the form: This section asks for details of any gifts or transfers made by the deceased person in the seven years before their death. This information is used to determine whether any tax is due on these gifts.

  7. Complete section 4 of the form: This section asks for information about the executors and administrators of the estate.

  8. Complete section 5 of the form: This section asks for details of any debts or liabilities owed by the deceased person or the estate.

  9. Sign and date the form: Once you have completed all sections of the form, you will need to sign and date it before submitting it to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

  10. Submit the form: You will need to send the completed form to HMRC along with any supporting documentation and payment of any tax due to the following address:

Inheritance Tax



United Kingdom

It is important to note that completing the IHT421 form can be a complex process, and it may be advisable to seek professional advice from a solicitor or tax specialist. Additionally, there are strict deadlines for submitting the form and paying any tax due, so it is important to ensure that you meet these deadlines to avoid penalties.

Once the IHT421 form has been completed, it must be submitted to HMRC along with any other necessary forms and documentation. HMRC will review the information provided and determine whether any Inheritance Tax is due on the estate.

How to Fill Form IHT421 - A Detailed Step by Step Guide

The IHT421 form is a crucial document in the UK for dealing with Inheritance Tax and probate matters, particularly in Northern Ireland. This guide provides a detailed walkthrough of how to complete each section of the form, ensuring accuracy and compliance with HMRC requirements.

Section 1: Personal and Estate Details

  • Name and Address: Fill in the full name and address of the deceased. Ensure that the details match those on other legal documents related to the estate.

  • Inheritance Tax Reference: If known, include the Inheritance Tax reference number. This can be found on previous correspondence from HMRC.

  • Your Reference and Contact Details: Provide a reference number (if applicable) and the contact details of the person filling out the form. This is crucial for HMRC to get in touch if needed.

Section 2: Deceased’s Details

  • Name and Title: State the deceased’s full name and title (Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, or other).

  • Address and Postcode: Enter the full postal address of the deceased, including the postcode.

  • Surname, First Names: Clearly print the surname and first names of the deceased.

  • Date of Death and Domicile: Fill in the date of death in DD MM YYYY format. State where the deceased was domiciled (resident for tax purposes) at the date of death.

Section 3: Estate Summary

  • Estate in the UK Before Deductions: Enter the gross value of the UK estate before deductions. This is calculated from the IHT400 box 79 + IHT404 box 13.

  • Joint Assets Passing by Survivorship: Include the value of joint assets that pass directly to a surviving owner. This information is copied from IHT404 box 11 total of column A.

  • Gross Value of Assets for Probate: Calculate this by subtracting the value of joint assets (box 2) from the total UK estate value (box 1).

  • Liabilities: Enter the total of the estate’s liabilities, as calculated from IHT400 box 83 + box 84 + IHT404 box 12.

  • Net Value: Determine the net value of the estate by subtracting the total liabilities (box 4) from the gross value of assets for probate (box 3).

Section 4: Tax and Interest Paid

  • Tax and Interest Paid: Record the amount of tax and interest already paid on the estate. This can be found in IHT400 box 119, IHT400 ‘Calculation’ box 65, or IHT430 box 28. If no tax is payable, enter ‘0’.

  • Signature and Date: The form should be signed and dated by the person or company calculating the amount due. The date should be in DD MM YYYY format.

Final Steps

  • Review and Double-Check: Ensure that all information provided is accurate and consistent with other documents.

  • Submission: Once completed, the form should be submitted to HMRC at the address provided on the form or accompanying documentation.

  • Seek Assistance if Needed: If you are unsure about any aspect of the form, refer to the guidance notes ‘Applying for a grant’ in the IHT400 ‘Notes’, or contact the Inheritance Tax Helpline.

Completing the IHT421 form is a critical step in managing an estate's inheritance tax liabilities. By following these steps and ensuring accuracy in the details provided, executors and personal representatives can navigate this process effectively. However, due to the complexity and potential for significant financial implications, it is often wise to consult with professionals who specialize in estate planning and inheritance tax.

The Evolution of the IHT421 Form in England and Wales

As of January 2024, a notable change occurred in the probate process for estates in England and Wales. The requirement to complete a 'Probate Summary' using Form IHT421 was eliminated. Instead, when processing the Inheritance Tax Return (Form IHT400), HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) now provides a unique code with the relevant values for the probate application. This change streamlines the process, reducing paperwork and preventing premature probate applications.

Key Changes in the Probate Application Procedure

  1. Reduction in Paperwork: Executors and personal representatives no longer need to complete the IHT421 form separately.

  2. Unique Code Issuance: HMRC issues a unique code along with probate values once the IHT400 form is processed.

  3. Prevention of Premature Applications: The new process ensures that probate applications are only made when all necessary tax values and codes are available, reducing the likelihood of errors or incomplete applications.

  4. Regional Differences: The process in Scotland and Northern Ireland remains unchanged, meaning the IHT421 form is still relevant in these regions.

Impact on Executors and Personal Representatives

  1. Simplified Process: Executors and personal representatives benefit from a more streamlined process with fewer forms to complete.

  2. Increased Efficiency: The new procedure is designed to make the probate application more efficient and reduce the administrative burden on those handling the estate.

  3. Need for Updated Knowledge: It is crucial for professionals and individuals involved in estate administration to be aware of these changes and understand the new requirements.

Implications for Estate Administration and Tax Planning

  1. Timely Estate Administration: The new system aims to facilitate a smoother and quicker estate administration process.

  2. Enhanced Accuracy: By integrating the probate values into the IHT400 process, there is a reduced risk of discrepancies and errors in the probate application.

  3. Continued Need for Professional Advice: Despite the simplifications, the complexity of inheritance tax planning and estate administration warrants the need for professional advice, particularly for large or complex estates.

The recent changes to the probate process in England and Wales, specifically the phasing out of the IHT421 form, represent a significant shift in the administration of estates. These changes are designed to simplify the process, reduce administrative burdens, and improve the accuracy of applications. However, the role of professional advice remains as important as ever, especially in understanding these new procedures and ensuring compliance with the latest regulations. For those in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the traditional process, including the use of the IHT421 form, continues to apply, underscoring the importance of regional awareness in estate planning.

The IHT421 form is an essential part of the probate process, and it is important for the executor or personal representative of a deceased person's estate to complete it accurately and thoroughly. By providing detailed information about the estate's assets and liabilities, as well as any gifts or transfers made during the deceased person's lifetime, the IHT421 form enables HMRC to calculate any Inheritance Tax that may be due on the estate. This ensures that the deceased person's estate is administered in accordance with the law, and that any Inheritance Tax that is due is paid on time and in full.

How a Tax Accountant Can Help You with Inheritance Tax

How a Tax Accountant Can Help You with Inheritance Tax

Inheritance Tax (IHT) in the UK can be a complex and daunting area for many individuals, particularly when dealing with the estate of a loved one. A professional tax accountant plays a crucial role in navigating this intricate terrain, ensuring that all legal and financial responsibilities are met while minimizing the tax burden. Here’s how a tax accountant can assist you with Inheritance Tax matters in the UK.

Understanding Inheritance Tax Regulations

  • Expertise in Tax Laws: Tax accountants are well-versed in the latest UK tax laws and regulations, including those pertaining to Inheritance Tax. They can explain how these laws apply to your specific situation, helping you understand your liabilities and entitlements.

  • Navigating Complex Rules: The rules surrounding IHT are intricate, with various thresholds, exemptions, and reliefs that can significantly impact the amount of tax due. A tax accountant can help you navigate these complexities, ensuring you’re fully aware of all potential liabilities.

Estate Valuation and Tax Calculation

  • Accurate Estate Valuation: Determining the value of an estate is a critical step in assessing Inheritance Tax. Tax accountants can accurately calculate the value of various assets, including property, investments, and personal belongings.

  • Calculating Taxable Amount: After determining the estate's value, accountants can calculate the exact amount of Inheritance Tax due. This includes understanding the nuances of tax bands and allowances, such as the nil-rate band and residence nil-rate band.

Maximizing Exemptions and Reliefs

  • Identifying Exemptions: There are several exemptions and reliefs that can reduce the IHT liability. These include spouse or civil partner exemption, charity donations, and potentially exempt transfers. A tax accountant can identify which exemptions are applicable to your case.

  • Strategic Planning for Reliefs: Certain reliefs, like Business Relief or Agricultural Relief, can significantly reduce the IHT due. Tax accountants can advise on the eligibility for these reliefs and how to maximize their benefits.

Assistance with Compliance and Filing

  • Navigating Compliance Requirements: Tax accountants ensure that all IHT compliance requirements are met, including the accurate completion and timely submission of necessary forms, such as the IHT400 and IHT421.

  • Filing Tax Returns: They can prepare and file any necessary tax returns related to the estate, ensuring that all HMRC deadlines are met to avoid penalties.

Tax Planning and Advice

  • Future Tax Planning: Tax accountants can provide advice on how to structure your estate to minimize future Inheritance Tax liabilities, such as through the use of trusts or gifting strategies.

  • Professional Advice for Beneficiaries: They can also offer guidance to beneficiaries on managing their inheritance in a tax-efficient manner, including advice on investment and property ownership.

Handling Complex Situations

  • Managing International Elements: If the estate includes assets overseas or if the deceased was domiciled outside the UK, the IHT situation can be more complex. Tax accountants with expertise in international tax law can provide invaluable assistance.

  • Dealing with Disputes and Investigations: In cases where there are disputes over the estate or investigations by HMRC, a tax accountant can offer professional representation and support.

Providing Peace of Mind

  • Ensuring Accuracy and Minimizing Stress: Handling Inheritance Tax matters can be stressful. A tax accountant takes on the burden of these complex tasks, ensuring accuracy and providing peace of mind.

  • Tailored Advice and Support: Each estate is unique, and a tax accountant can provide personalized advice and support tailored to your specific circumstances.

In summary, a tax accountant is an invaluable resource when dealing with Inheritance Tax in the UK. Their expertise in tax law, experience in handling estate valuations, and ability to navigate the complexities of tax filing and planning can significantly ease the burden during a challenging time. Whether you are an executor of an estate or a beneficiary, seeking the services of a professional tax accountant ensures that Inheritance Tax matters are managed efficiently, accurately, and in compliance with all legal requirements.



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