It has been reported in the press recently that a French man who inherited a deceased relative’s property has since found 100kg of gold coins and bars in the property. The gold was found hidden under furniture and in the bathroom of the property and has since been valued at €3.5million. In France, as would be the case in the UK, the Estate is now required to pay Inheritance Tax on the newly discovered Assets.
The rules in the UK state that where an estate is taxable, Personal Representatives (Executors or Administrators) are required to pay the Inheritance Tax due on an estate by the end of sixth months after the person has died. The Personal Representatives are required to complete an Inheritance Tax account in which they declare that to the best of their knowledge and belief, the information included within the account are correct and complete.
If HMRC find out later that an account is incorrect a penalty may be payable and furthermore, where the Personal Representative is found to have deliberately concealed information which affects the Inheritance Tax liability, or deliberately include false information, they may be liable to prosecution.
As Personal Representatives are personally liable for all the Inheritance Tax due on the deceased’s estate it is vital to ensure that the initial Inheritance Tax Return is accurate. It is also just as important to declare any assets which come to light after the account has been submitted, strictly within six months of the Personal Representative becoming aware. It is not unusual for a shareholding or life policy to come to light years after the estate has been formally administered and it is important for Personal Representatives to ensure that they continue to fulfil their duties and obligations to HMRC.