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You complete a Return of Estate Information form as part of the probate (or confirmation) process to show that an estate is an 'excepted estate'. This means it doesn't require a full Inheritance Tax account. There are several versions of the form. This guide answers common questions about forms IHT205 and C5.
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The Return of Estate Information form shows HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that the estate you are dealing with is an excepted estate. If it isn't, the form will tell you to fill in a full Inheritance Tax account instead - form IHT400.
Usually, if an estate has no Inheritance Tax to pay, it will be an excepted estate. However, this is not always the case.
An estate is generally an excepted estate if one of the following applies:
However, there are other rules you must consider as well, see the section below about when not to use the form.
There are some rules which mean that although an estate doesn't owe Inheritance Tax it can't be an excepted estate. In these cases you should complete a full Inheritance Tax account form IHT400. Follow the link below to find out more about what qualifies as an excepted estate.
There are several types and versions of the Return of Estate Information form. The one to use mostly depends on where the deceased lived and the date of death.
The most commonly used forms are:
It's also vital to ensure you use the right version of the form for the deceased's date of death.
All executors or personal representatives sign the Return of Estate Information form, as they'll eventually be named on the grant of probate (or confirmation in Scotland).
If you're in England or Wales, you should send the IHT205 form to your nearest Probate Registry. You'll also need to include the PA1 Probate Application form, the original will, the death certificate and the probate fee. The process is slightly different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The main purpose of the Return of Estate Information form is to confirm that the estate is an excepted estate.
The majority of people will have an excepted estate which means you'll need to complete the Return of Estate Information form IHT205 (or C5 for Scotland). You'll also answer 'no' to most of the questions on the form, or the questions will not be relevant to the deceased person.
Some questions and terminology on the IHT205 and C5 forms may need explaining to non-experts. Follow the links below for summaries of the most commonly asked questions on gifts, trusts, insurance policies, pensions, exemptions and assets. Full guidance notes for the IHT205 and C5 forms are also available to download from the links below.
It may be helpful to discuss the completion of forms with a
solicitor. You'll find some links below to professional organisations
- though not all professionals are registered with them.
Find a solicitor on the Law Society of England and Wales website (Opens new window)
Find a solicitor on the Law Society of Northern Ireland website (Opens new window)
Find a solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland website (Opens new window)
Contact the probate and Inheritance Tax helpline