Estates: Inheritance Tax

So it’s 8th July already and into the second half of the Wimbledon  Championships. Looking at your own life, which half do you imagine you are in? (ouch… didn’t see that coming!). Like most people inheritance tax (often referred to as IHT) probably isn’t something that is top of your current concerns (you don’t pay it) however it is a tax that generates more ire than most. In essence, inheritance tax is paid by the Executors of an estate following someone’s death. The amount of tax due will depend on the value of the estate and how it was arranged.

Today the Chancellor will give yet another Budget, but this one, the first as a Conservative Government. Like many I shall be waiting to hear what he says and see how he plans to deliver it. One of the pre-election manifesto promises was to increase the threshold for inheritance tax, perhaps to £1,000,000 for a couples main residence.

He may be less willing to follow through with this now as it was announced that in April HMRC collected £397m as inheritance tax payments, the largest in a single month and way above the longer term average of £260m a month. In fact March, April and May 2015 saw over £1bn of inheritance tax paid to HMRC. If interested, you can see the various taxes collected by HMRC from the data they published at the start of the month, just click here.

The Budget 8 July 2015

We shall simply have to wait for the Chancellor to tell us how and if he intends to adjust the nil rate band (the amount an estate can be worth before any inheritance tax is payable). The nil rate band has been frozen at £325,000 since 2009 and had historically increased with inflation each year, but of course that was before the credit crunch. As ever our APP will be updated with all the changes as quickly as possible (usually before the end of the day). Don’t forget it’s free and easy to use.

Pensions and ISAs are now IHT friendly

The main gripe is that property has continued to soar in value and is invariably the main asset that is left once someone dies. The pension freedom rules have enabled pension funds to be exempt from inheritance tax (though some taxes may apply) and ISAs are able to be passed on to a surviving spouse (previously they would have lost the tax-free status of an ISA).

As a result more people, or rather estates have been brought into the inheritance tax threshold, probably not the original intention of the tax. However the Chancellor will be seeking some wriggle room to keep things as they are given that it raises such significant sums for the Treasury.

A 40% tax rate

As of this morning, inheritance tax is charged at 40% on the excess value of estates worth £325,000. Each individual has a nil rate band and so a couple effectively has a nil rate band of £650,000. In addition, for those that have been previously married to someone now deceased, it is possible to use part of their allowance too.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email