Inheritance Tax Planning (IHT)
Inheritance tax planning calculation and avoidance basics:
If the value of your estate at the time of your death exceeds £325,000 (known as the ‘nil rate band’ for the tax year 2017/18) then the excess will be subjected to inheritance tax (IHT) at 40%.
Value of estate: £500,000
Nil rate band: £325,000
Inheritance tax bill: £70,000
Since October 2007, married couples and registered civil partners can effectively increase the threshold on their estate when the second partner dies – to as much as £650,000 in 2017/18 tax year. Their executors or personal representatives must transfer the first spouse or civil partners unused Inheritance Tax threshold or nil rate band to the second spouse or civil partner when they die).
Transfers of property and gifts between spouse’s in their lifetime or on death (no matter how large in value) are exempt from Inheritance Tax Planning (IHT). This is known as the inter-spouse exemption rule. Certain small gifts to individuals are permitted and will reduce the size of the estate and IHT liability; however, in practice these are insufficient to have a major impact on the tax bill.
This is an incredibly complex area requiring bespoke financial advice. Changes in tax allowances and taxation of trusts mean existing planning arrangements should be reviewed at the earliest opportunity.