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HMRC 20-year investigation period

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I have taken this quote from a different post which I will not threadjack:
 "The final value of the estate is presented in the estate accounts, which are given to any residuary legatee, and must be kept for 20 years in case HMRC or anyone else want to see them".

I have just completed administration of my late mother's estate. It was a simple estate, no property and no inheritance tax.

What are the chances that HMRC will investigate sometime in the next 20 years? 
And when did the 20 year period start? Would it be from the date that representation was granted? 
What happens if the accounts and supporting documents get destroyed by the person administering my estate, if events should turn out that way?

It's all a bit vague and an explanation would be a great addition to the MSE guide to probate. 


  • getmore4lessgetmore4less Forumite
    40.5K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper I've helped Parliament
    There was a good explanation of the various reasons someone might need to keep accounts for years  on the Motley fool UK  discussion boards but that got closed there might be something on the lemon fool that took over the role.

    There are a few active lawyers that post there.

    I may have posted a summary here a few years back, might be worth a search.
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
    8.3K posts
    Fifth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    For a small estate way under the amount IHT kicks in, the chances of an HMRC investigation are zero.
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