We find it extremely concerning and unjustifiable that HMRC is imposing interest charges on bereaved families facing probate delays, particularly in cases where these delays are beyond their control. Witnessing the added burden placed upon grieving individuals already coping with losing a loved one is deeply distressing. An article in the Telegraph sheds light on this alarming issue, revealing that certain individuals have been forced to wait for almost a year to receive a grant of probate, only to be penalised with late payment fees.
Inheritance tax is a sensitive subject, and the tax authorities must handle such matters with empathy and compassion. Instead, imposition interest charges in situations where individuals do not influence the probate process appears to be a clear injustice. Grieving families should not be subjected to financial penalties due to delays caused by a backlog within the system.
HMRC needs to recognise the exceptional circumstances surrounding probate delays and exercise greater flexibility in its approach. Charging interest in these cases only exacerbates the financial strain and emotional distress experienced by families already grappling with losing a loved one. Rather than penalising individuals, it would be far more reasonable for the authorities to focus on addressing the root causes of the probate backlog and implementing measures to expedite the process.
The Telegraph (2023, June 2). Incompetent civil servants working from home are fuelling inheritance tax pain, warns Rees-Mogg. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tax/inheritance/probate-backlog-civil-servants-inheritance-tax-rees-mogg/