Effective from 6 April 2019
In limited circumstances you can provide self-valuations for assets. For example, ordinary
household goods where individual items have a value of no more than £500, and the use of
publicly available data to obtain a valuation for second hand cars. Where you have provided a
self-valuation, explain how you have arrived at that value and why, if appropriate, a low or ‘nil’
valuation has been returned. Where there are antiques or collections and you are not obtaining
a professional valuation provide us with a full description of the items and details of any sales
In all other circumstances and for all other assets you are strongly advised to obtain a
professional valuation and ensure that the valuers are instructed properly. In some cases you
may feel that it is appropriate to obtain more than one valuation.
When obtaining a valuation:
engage a qualified, independent valuer
explain the context and draw attention to the definition in S160 Inheritance Tax Act (IHTA)
1984 (market value)
provide all the relevant details concerning the asset, in particular ensuring the valuer is aware
of the need to take into account any points mentioned in the bullet points under ‘Risk’ above
ensure that copies of relevant agreements, or full details where only an oral agreement exists,
are provided so misunderstandings do not arise.
To help us verify overseas valuations you should also let us have the full address of any
property together with a full description including number and size of rooms plus any facilities,
for example, swimming pools. Copies of the overseas valuations should be sent to us together
with any translations. To assist with the valuation process involving overseas properties, in the
majority of cases photos will be required which show the general condition both internally and
externally. Providing photos at the outset will reduce the likelihood of us raising further enquiries
when considering the valuation.
For farms, always provide a plan and photos of the farmhouse, buildings and land. We will also
need to see a copy of the professional valuation reports that you have obtained.
For further guidance on agricultural value see IHTM24150.
There are special rules about valuing jointly owned assets where the other joint owner is the
surviving spouse or civil partner (much more rarely a charity or one of the political, national or
public bodies to which exempt transfers may be made) or a trust in which the deceased has a
For further guidance see IHTM09731+.
Where self-valuations are made we see wide margins of error. Lengthy correspondence may be
avoided if we are satisfied that all the relevant factors have been taken into consideration.
Valuations received are often inaccurate and the full valuation requirements of the IHTA1984
are not considered. We frequently receive incorrect valuations based on insurance values,
replacement values or book values. The general rule for Inheritance Tax purposes is that the
value of any asset is the price it might reasonably be expected to fetch if sold in the open
market at the time of death or transfer.
When looking at the value of gifts you need to consider the ‘loss to the estate’ principle. This
means that you look at the value of the estate before and after the gift was made. The
difference between those two figures is the loss to the estate and is the figure that needs to be
included on form IHT400.
For further guidance on loss to the estate see IHTM04054.