Spotlight on Inheritance Tax

Published: 10/07/2018 By Robert Coyle

Inheritance tax (IHT) is the tax payable on a deceased individual’s estate: in 2018/19, IHT is payable where a person’s wealth is in excess of £325,000 - otherwise known as the ‘nil-rate band’.
IHT is currently charged at 40% on the proportion of the individual’s estate that exceeds the nil-rate band. Both the value of chargeable assets held at death and the value of chargeable lifetime gifts made within seven years of death are included within the estate.

The Residence Nil-Rate Band (RNRB)
On 6 April 2017, the RNRB came into effect, permitting some individuals to escape the IHT net.
The RNRB applies where a residence is passed on death to a direct descendant, such as a child or a grandchild. For 2018/19, the RNRB is set at £125,000 and is set to rise annually thereafter, reaching £175,000 in 2020/21.
The RNRB is in addition to an individual’s nil-rate band, and can only be used in regard to one residential property which has been, at some time, a residence of the deceased. The RNRB is ta  pered at a withdrawal rate of £1 for every £2 for estates with a net value of more than £2 million.

Making the most of IHT reliefs
It’s well worth planning and done carefully there are some great opportunities to better manage your liability to IHT. Examples include:
· Transfers between spouses – are IHT exempt - and can be used in conjunction with other allowances – such as exempted gifts (see below).
· Smaller gifts can fall immediately outside of your estate. Larger gifts can be exempt if survived for seven years. There is taper relief on gifts made between 3 and 7 years before death.
· Some assets can fall outside the scope of IHT – such as AIM shares or agricultural land.
· Trusts are a potentially excellent planning tool – but are complex and need careful use.

A Pitfall
Avoid “gifts with reservation” – for a gift to work it must truly be a gift (although there are ways to carefully structure these).

Live in the South East?
If yes and you own your own home— your estate could easily be caught by IHT. Early advice is essential to best manage this tax.