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Inheritance Tax: Direct Payment Schemes for Inheritance Tax - Form IHT423

Inheritance Tax (IHT) in the UK is a tax on the estate (the property, money, and possessions) of someone who has died. Understanding how this tax works, who it applies to, and how it can be managed is crucial for anyone dealing with the estate of a deceased person. One essential aspect of managing Inheritance Tax is understanding the Direct Payment Scheme (DPS), which allows for the tax owed to be paid directly from the deceased person's bank accounts to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Inheritance Tax: Direct Payment Schemes for Inheritance Tax - Form IHT423

What is Inheritance Tax?

Inheritance Tax is levied on estates that exceed a certain threshold, which has been subject to changes over time. The rate of tax and the threshold can significantly impact the amount owed by the estate to HMRC. It's a pivotal consideration for estate planning and requires a comprehensive understanding of current regulations and allowances to optimize tax liabilities.

The Direct Payment Scheme for Inheritance Tax

The Direct Payment Scheme (DPS) provides a mechanism for paying Inheritance Tax directly from the deceased's bank, building society, or National Savings and Investments (NS&I) accounts. This scheme can be initiated before probate has been granted, allowing for a more streamlined process in settling the estate's tax obligations.

To utilize the DPS, the personal representatives of the deceased need to follow a series of steps:

  1. Becoming a Personal Representative: Banks, building societies, or NS&I require the appointment of a personal representative to manage the deceased's accounts. The process for this appointment can vary by institution.

  2. Obtaining an Inheritance Tax Payment Reference Number: Essential for ensuring that payments are correctly attributed to the estate's tax bill.

  3. Completing Form IHT423: This form, along with Form IHT400 (Inheritance Tax Account), must be submitted to instruct the financial institutions to pay HMRC directly. The form IHT423 is specifically designed for this purpose and requires detailed information about the deceased's accounts and the tax due.

Advantages of Using the DPS

The Direct Payment Scheme offers several advantages, including the ability to manage tax payments efficiently and without the need for probate to be completed first. This can significantly reduce the time and complexity involved in administering an estate, ensuring that tax liabilities are settled promptly.

Navigating the Process

The process of paying Inheritance Tax using the DPS involves close coordination with financial institutions and HMRC. It's crucial to ensure that all paperwork is accurately completed and submitted in a timely manner. The guidance provided by HMRC, including detailed instructions on their website, serves as an invaluable resource for personal representatives navigating this process.

Understanding and managing Inheritance Tax through the Direct Payment Scheme is an essential aspect of estate administration in the UK. By leveraging this scheme, personal representatives can efficiently address the estate's tax obligations, ensuring compliance with UK tax laws and regulations. The steps involved, from becoming a personal representative to completing the necessary forms, underscore the importance of detailed attention to the administrative requirements of managing an estate's tax liabilities.

Completing Form IHT423 for Direct Payment Scheme

When managing an estate's Inheritance Tax (IHT) obligations, utilizing the Direct Payment Scheme (DPS) via form IHT423 can streamline the payment process significantly. This part delves into the specifics of completing the IHT423 form, interacting with financial institutions, and coordinating with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to ensure the smooth execution of tax payments.

Detailed Guidance on Form IHT423

Form IHT423 is pivotal for instructing banks, building societies, or National Savings and Investments (NS&I) to pay IHT directly from the deceased's account to HMRC. This form complements form IHT400 (Inheritance Tax Account), providing a direct link between the estate's funds and the tax authority, thus simplifying the payment process.

  1. Filling Out Form IHT423: The form requests detailed information about the deceased's accounts intended for tax payment. It requires the Inheritance Tax reference number, details of the account(s), and the amount of tax to be paid. Accuracy is paramount to avoid delays or misallocations of funds.

  2. Submission to Financial Institutions: Each financial institution may have its process for handling DPS requests. After completing form IHT423, it must be submitted alongside the required documents to each institution holding the deceased's accounts. This step initiates the transfer of funds to HMRC.

  3. Coordination with HMRC: Alongside the IHT423 submission, the personal representatives must send form IHT400 and any supplementary documents to HMRC. This comprehensive submission provides HMRC with a full account of the estate's value and the tax due, enabling them to process the DPS payments correctly.

How to Complete Form IHT423: A Step by Step Guide

Navigating the process of handling inheritance tax (IHT) after the loss of a loved one can be a daunting task. One essential document you'll encounter in this process is Form IHT423, utilized for the Direct Payment Scheme. This form allows you to pay any due inheritance tax directly from the deceased's bank or building society accounts. Here's a comprehensive step-by-step guide to completing Form IHT423, ensuring clarity and simplicity during this challenging time.

Introduction to Form IHT423

Form IHT423 is designed for those wishing to utilize the Direct Payment Scheme for inheritance tax, enabling the transfer of funds from the deceased's bank, building society, or National Savings and Investments (NS&I) accounts directly to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to cover the inheritance tax owed. Before starting, ensure you've read the guidance notes within the IHT400 'Notes' for thorough understanding.

Completing the Form

Deceased's Details

  • Surname and First Name(s): Begin by entering the deceased's full name. This ensures the account and the tax liability are correctly identified.

  • Date of Death: Enter the date of death in DD MM YYYY format. This is crucial for establishing the timeline for the tax payment.

  • Inheritance Tax Reference Number: This is provided by HMRC and is vital for ensuring the payment is allocated correctly.

Transfer Details

  1. Deceased’s Account Details: Indicate the bank or building society's name or specify it's an NS&I account. If the deceased held multiple accounts, a separate form for each is necessary.

  2. Sort Code: Fill this in if it's a bank or building society account. For NS&I accounts, this field is left blank.

  3. Account Number: Here, enter the account number. If it's an NS&I account, ensure you use the account number specific to the deceased, not the general NS&I number.

  4. Building Society Roll or Reference Number: If applicable, provide this additional identification detail.

  5. Amount to be Transferred: Specify in both words and figures the exact amount to be transferred to HMRC for IHT payment.

Payment Details

  • HMRC's Banking Details: These are pre-filled with HMRC's sort code and account number for the transfer. It’s critical to include a valid IHT reference number to match the payment to the account.


The form's second page is dedicated to the declaration. Here, every representative applying for the grant of representation or confirmation must sign, acknowledging the amount transferred will cover all or part of the IHT due.

Representative Details

  • Enter the surname, first name(s), full address, and postcode for up to four representatives. Each must sign and date the form, confirming the details provided are accurate and authorizing the tax payment.

Example Answers

Let's consider an example scenario where John Doe, the deceased, had a bank account solely for this purpose. Here’s how you might fill out specific sections:

  • Deceased’s Name: John Doe

  • Date of Death: 15 03 2023

  • Account Details: Big Bank PLC, Sort Code 00-00-00, Account Number 12345678

  • Amount to be Transferred: Two thousand pounds, £2000

Completing Form IHT423 is a straightforward yet critical step in managing inheritance tax responsibilities. By following the outlined steps and ensuring accurate information, you can navigate this process more smoothly. Remember, this form is a part of a sensitive and significant undertaking—handling a loved one's final affairs with care and respect.

Working with Banks and Building Societies

The role of banks, building societies, and NS&I is crucial in the DPS process. Upon receiving form IHT423 and recognizing the authority of the personal representatives, these institutions can directly transfer the specified tax amounts to HMRC. It's essential for personal representatives to understand the specific requirements and processes of each institution, as variations can occur.

After the Transfer: What to Expect

After the successful transfer of funds to HMRC through the DPS, what happens next varies depending on the location within the UK:

  • In England and Wales: HMRC provides a unique code for online probate application, facilitating the next steps in estate administration.

  • In Northern Ireland and Scotland: HMRC returns the stamped Probate Summary form IHT421 or Confirmation form C1, indicating that probate can proceed.

This streamlined process not only ensures compliance with tax obligations but also significantly reduces the administrative burden on the estate's personal representatives.

Importance of Accuracy and Timeliness

The success of the DPS process hinges on the accuracy of the information provided and the timeliness of submissions. Missteps or delays can result in complications with probate and additional stress for those managing the estate. It underscores the importance of careful attention to detail and adherence to deadlines throughout the process.

Utilizing the Direct Payment Scheme and form IHT423 for Inheritance Tax payments represents an efficient approach to managing one of the many responsibilities faced by personal representatives. By following the detailed guidance provided by HMRC and coordinating effectively with financial institutions, the estate can meet its tax obligations in a streamlined and timely manner. This part of the process, while requiring meticulous attention to detail and coordination, significantly aids in the smooth administration of the deceased's estate, ensuring that tax liabilities are addressed with minimal delay.

Advanced Considerations and Final Steps in the Direct Payment Scheme

As we move into the final segment of navigating the Direct Payment Scheme (DPS) for Inheritance Tax (IHT) in the UK, it's crucial to consider some advanced aspects of this process. These include understanding the broader implications of IHT payments, the potential challenges and solutions, and the importance of thorough documentation and follow-through after initiating DPS payments.

Beyond Payment: Understanding the Impact of IHT Payments

  1. Estate Finalisation and Distribution: After IHT payments are made, personal representatives can focus on finalizing the estate. This involves distributing assets to beneficiaries according to the will or, in the absence of a will, the laws of intestacy. The smooth execution of the DPS can significantly expedite this process.

  2. Tax Adjustments and Refunds: In some instances, the estate may be eligible for adjustments or refunds on the IHT paid. This could arise from the sale of assets at a value different from the initial estimation or other qualifying circumstances. Representatives should stay informed about potential adjustments and communicate with HMRC to ensure the estate's tax position is accurate and up to date.

Addressing Challenges in the DPS Process

The DPS, while streamlined, can present challenges. These may include delays in processing by banks or HMRC, discrepancies in the calculated tax due, and complexities arising from the estate's composition. Proactive communication and meticulous record-keeping are vital in addressing these issues. Personal representatives may find it beneficial to consult tax professionals or legal advisors to navigate complex scenarios.

Documentation and Record-Keeping

Maintaining comprehensive records of all communications, submissions, and payments related to the DPS and IHT is crucial. This documentation serves multiple purposes:

  • Verification: It provides proof of compliance with tax obligations and the actions taken by personal representatives.

  • Dispute Resolution: It is invaluable in resolving any discrepancies or queries from HMRC or beneficiaries.

  • Final Estate Accounting: It supports the transparent and accurate accounting of the estate's administration process.

Final Steps and Conclusion

Once the IHT payment process is complete, personal representatives should:

  • Confirm with HMRC: Ensure that HMRC has received all necessary payments and documentation and that the estate's IHT account is settled.

  • Communicate with Beneficiaries: Update the estate's beneficiaries on the status of IHT payments and the overall progress of estate administration.

  • Proceed with Estate Distribution: With tax obligations met, the estate can be distributed as per the deceased's wishes or the law.

Navigating the Direct Payment Scheme for Inheritance Tax payments is a critical component of estate administration in the UK. This comprehensive approach, from understanding the basics of IHT to completing and documenting payments through the DPS, underscores the importance of diligence, accuracy, and proactive management. By effectively utilizing the DPS, personal representatives can fulfill their responsibilities with efficiency, ensuring that the deceased's estate is managed and distributed in accordance with legal and fiscal requirements. This not only honors the wishes of the deceased but also secures the financial interests of the beneficiaries. The journey through the IHT payment process, while complex, is an essential step in the resolution and closure of the estate, marking the final act of stewardship over the deceased's financial legacy.

How an Inheritance Tax Accountant Can Help you With Form IHT423

How an Inheritance Tax Accountant Can Help you With Form IHT423

In the complex landscape of estate planning and inheritance tax (IHT) compliance in the UK, navigating through the myriad of forms, regulations, and deadlines can be a daunting task. One critical form that plays a significant role in the administration of an estate's IHT obligations is Form IHT423, which is used within the Direct Payment Scheme (DPS) to facilitate the payment of IHT directly from the deceased's bank and savings accounts. Given the intricacies involved, seeking the expertise of an Inheritance Tax Accountant can be invaluable in managing this process effectively. This discussion explores how such a specialist can assist with Form IHT423, enhancing both compliance and efficiency in handling IHT matters.

Understanding Inheritance Tax and Form IHT423

Before delving into the specifics of how an Inheritance Tax Accountant can be of assistance, it's important to grasp the essentials of IHT and the function of Form IHT423. Inheritance Tax is levied on the estate of a deceased person if the value of the estate exceeds the current IHT threshold. The role of Form IHT423 is to allow for the direct payment of IHT from the deceased's accounts to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), thereby simplifying part of the tax payment process.

Expertise in Tax Legislation and Compliance

An Inheritance Tax Accountant brings a deep understanding of the tax legislation and the latest compliance requirements. This expertise is crucial in accurately completing and submitting Form IHT423, ensuring that all relevant tax laws are adhered to. The accountant can navigate the complexities of tax legislation, providing clarity and ensuring that the estate is not exposed to unnecessary tax liabilities or penalties for non-compliance.

Strategic Estate Planning and Tax Liability Minimization

Beyond the administrative task of filling out forms, an Inheritance Tax Accountant can offer strategic advice on estate planning to minimize the IHT liability. This can include recommendations on how to utilize allowances and reliefs effectively, such as the transferable nil rate band or the residence nil rate band. By integrating these strategies early in the estate planning process, the accountant can significantly reduce the IHT due, thus benefiting the estate and its beneficiaries.

Accuracy and Efficiency in Form Submission

The accuracy of information provided in Form IHT423 is paramount to avoid delays or queries from HMRC. An Inheritance Tax Accountant ensures that the form is filled out correctly and efficiently, reducing the likelihood of errors that could complicate the tax payment process. This level of precision helps in streamlining the submission process, potentially speeding up the overall probate procedure.

Liaising with Financial Institutions and HMRC

An often overlooked yet critical aspect of handling Form IHT423 is dealing with banks, building societies, and HMRC. An Inheritance Tax Accountant can act as an intermediary, managing communications between these entities. This includes negotiating and clarifying terms with financial institutions for the release of funds and addressing any queries from HMRC regarding the tax payment. Their experience and professional relationships can facilitate smoother interactions, leading to a more efficient resolution of matters.

Handling Complex Estate Situations

In cases where the estate's financial affairs are complex, involving multiple accounts, investments, or even assets overseas, the guidance of an Inheritance Tax Accountant becomes even more critical. They can oversee the allocation of funds for IHT payments, ensuring that the most tax-efficient sources are utilized. Moreover, for estates that may not have sufficient liquid assets to cover the IHT liability, an accountant can advise on alternative solutions, such as the possibility of paying IHT in installments.

Emotional Support and Peace of Mind

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is challenging, and the added burden of estate administration can be overwhelming for many. Having an Inheritance Tax Accountant manage the intricacies of Form IHT423 and other related tax matters provides not only a professional service but also emotional support. Beneficiaries and executors can find peace of mind knowing that the estate's tax obligations are being handled by an expert, allowing them to focus on personal matters during a difficult time.

The administration of an estate's Inheritance Tax obligations, particularly through the use of Form IHT423 within the Direct Payment Scheme, requires a detailed understanding of tax laws, meticulous attention to detail, and strategic planning. An Inheritance Tax Accountant offers not just expertise in tax compliance and estate planning but also a strategic partnership that can navigate the complexities of IHT management efficiently and effectively. By leveraging their specialized knowledge and skills, estates can ensure compliance, minimize tax liabilities, and ultimately, safeguard the financial interests of beneficiaries, making the engagement of such a professional a wise decision in the intricate process of estate administration.


Q1: Can I use Form IHT423 if the deceased had accounts in foreign banks?

A: Form IHT423 is specifically designed for accounts held in UK banks, building societies, or National Savings and Investments. For assets in foreign banks, other procedures apply, and it's advisable to consult with a tax advisor or HMRC for guidance on handling foreign assets in relation to IHT.

Q2: Is there a deadline for submitting Form IHT423 to the relevant financial institutions?

A: While there isn't a specific deadline for submitting Form IHT423, it's important to proceed in a timely manner to ensure that IHT payments are made within six months from the end of the month in which the death occurred to avoid potential interest charges on the IHT due.

Q3: Can IHT423 be used to pay taxes for trusts or gifts?

A: Form IHT423 is intended for paying Inheritance Tax directly from the deceased's accounts for their estate. Trusts or gifts might have separate tax implications and forms. For trusts, IHT forms related to trust administration should be used.

Q4: What if the amount in the deceased’s account is insufficient to cover the IHT bill?

A: If the funds are insufficient, you'll need to arrange for the payment of the remaining tax due through other means. This could involve liquidating other assets within the estate or arranging for payments from beneficiaries or other sources.

Q5: How does the Direct Payment Scheme affect the probate process?

A: Utilizing the DPS can expedite the probate process by allowing for the direct payment of IHT, which is often a prerequisite for obtaining probate. However, the overall probate timeline can vary based on the complexity of the estate and other factors.

Q6: Can IHT423 payments be split between multiple accounts?

A: Yes, you can use multiple IHT423 forms to instruct payments from different accounts held by the deceased. Each form corresponds to an individual account from which funds will be transferred to HMRC.

Q7: What happens if I make an error on Form IHT423?

A: If you discover an error after submission, it's important to contact the relevant financial institution and HMRC as soon as possible to rectify the mistake. Provide the corrected information promptly to avoid delays in the IHT payment process.

Q8: Are there any fees associated with using the Direct Payment Scheme?

A: There are no HMRC fees for using the Direct Payment Scheme. However, individual banks or building societies may have their own fees for processing these transactions, so it's advisable to check with them directly.

Q9: How do I confirm that HMRC has received the IHT payment through DPS?

A: HMRC should acknowledge receipt of the payment. You can also check the status by contacting HMRC directly. It's wise to keep records of all correspondence and transaction proofs related to the payment.

Q10: Can the Direct Payment Scheme be used if the estate is insolvent?

A: If the estate is insolvent, different rules apply. The Direct Payment Scheme is typically used for solvent estates where there are sufficient assets to cover debts, including IHT. In cases of insolvency, legal advice is recommended.

Q11: Is it possible to amend the amount of IHT to be paid after submitting Form IHT423?

A: If circumstances change and you need to amend the amount after submission, you should contact HMRC and the financial institution immediately to discuss the necessary adjustments.

Q12: Can I cancel a DPS payment after submitting Form IHT423?

A: Once a DPS payment has been initiated, cancelling it might not be straightforward. If you need to stop a payment, contact the financial institution and HMRC as soon as possible, but be prepared for the process to be complex.

Q13: What should I do if the bank refuses to release funds for DPS?

A: If a bank refuses to release funds, ensure that you've provided all necessary documentation and correctly completed Form IHT423. If issues persist, seek advice from HMRC or a legal professional for further guidance.

Q14: How do I handle DPS if there are joint accounts involved?

A: For joint accounts, the share of the deceased in the account can be considered for IHT payments through DPS. Specific details on handling joint accounts should be discussed with the financial institution and potentially HMRC.

Q15: Are electronic signatures accepted on Form IHT423?

A: Acceptance of electronic signatures varies by institution. It's important to check directly with the bank, building society, or NS&I and HMRC for their current policies regarding electronic signatures.

Q16: What documentation is needed alongside Form IHT423 for it to be processed?

A: Along with Form IHT423, you'll need to provide the death certificate, the Inheritance Tax reference number, and possibly Form IHT400 if it has not already been submitted to HMRC. It's essential to confirm with both the financial institution and HMRC the complete list of required documents for your specific situation.

Q17: How long does the DPS payment process take from submission of Form IHT423 to HMRC receiving the funds?

A: The processing time can vary depending on the financial institution and HMRC's current workload. Typically, payments should be processed within a few weeks, but it's wise to allow extra time and check with both the bank and HMRC for an estimated timeline.

Q18: Is there a limit to the number of IHT423 forms I can submit for a single estate?

A: There is no official limit to the number of IHT423 forms you can submit. If the deceased had multiple accounts across different institutions, you might need to submit a separate form for each account you wish to use for paying IHT.

Q19: What should I do if I haven't received confirmation from HMRC about the IHT payment through DPS?

A: If you haven't received confirmation, contact HMRC directly to inquire about the status of your payment. Ensure you have the payment reference number and any other relevant information about the payment at hand.

Q20: Can DPS be used for estates under the threshold for paying IHT but still requiring a formal IHT account?

A: Even if the estate is under the threshold and no IHT is due, you may still need to submit an IHT account to HMRC for record-keeping. However, the DPS is specifically for paying IHT, so if no tax is due, the scheme would not be applicable.

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