Header image alt text


Inheritance Tax….The FAQs


Inheritance Tax Logo thZCA4W9XW 


What is the current IHT Nil Rate Band (NRB) amount, and how will this change in the future?  

£325,000, which is currently fixed until 2020 from which it will then increase in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from 2021 onwards: this is all subject to future Government policy: But see new rules wef 06 April 2017  Click to view

What is the current IHT rate payable above the NRB? How could this be reduced by charitable donation(s)?  

40% on the excess above the NRB. This could be reduced to 36% if at least 10% of the net estate is left to registered charities, ie those with an HMRC charity reference number


What is the IHT Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) amount, and how can this be used?  

A RNRB of £100,000 is applicable from April 2017 and will increase by £25,000 per tax year to reach £175,000 from April 2020. It can be used in addition to the NRB if the deceased’s interest in a residential property, which has been their residence at some point and is included in their estate, is left to one of more of their direct descendants


What two things determine how much IHT is payable?  

1)    The value of the net estate, after deduction of debts etc

2)    Where the Will or Intestacy sends the net estate


Who are exempt beneficiaries for IHT purposes?  

Spouses, registered charities, UK political parties, estates of emergency service personnel and humanitarian aid workers who die as a result of responding to an emergency, and police constables and armed service personnel who die as a result of being attacked due to their status  


Does a married or civil partnership couple have an automatic 'Double NRB', and does this differ for couples who are not married / in a civil partnership ? 

No, it is not automatic, as it has to be claimed by the Executors on second death of the couple so as to uplift the total NRB to the equivalent maximum of two NRB’s: this is only applicable for married and civil partnership couples, and is not possible for couples not married or civil partners


For a married couple, where on first death in September 2007 when the NRB was £300,000 and everything passed to the spouse, what is the NRB that applies now on second death, and how is this obtained?  

It is a maximum of 100% of the NRB which is applicable at the time of the second death (i.e. not the NRB applicable at first death). This is obtained by the Executors acting on second death by providing appropriate evidence to HMRC that it can be claimed, and how much


For an unmarried couple with a potential IHT liability what would be recommended in their Will ?  

A Nil Rate Band Discretionary Trust in each of their wills. This will effectively enable a 'doubling up' of the NRB by way of a loan / IOU facility via the trust which would be a debt on the estate of second to die which would reduce that estate


How much potential IHT could be saved for an unmarried couple ?  

The potential IHT savings is £130,000, calculated as 40% of one NRB of £325,000


The Testator is a single person who solely owns their property, but their estate is sufficient size to be above the NRB. What can be done in their will to mitigate IHT, and what other option(s) could be suggested ?  

Nothing can be done in their Will for this, thus it may be prudent to refer them to an IFA or specialist tax adviser who is able to give them advice which would relate to lifetime IHT planning


A married couple intend to give their house to their children to avoid IHT but also continue to live in it: how would this be treated by HMRC, and could this tactic work?  

This would be treated as a ‘Gift with Reservation of Benefit’ (GROB,) as they would retain the enjoyment and benefit of the property, so it would be added back into their estate for IHT purposes and would therefore not ordinarily work: this may be overcome by them living in the property with the new owner and paying a true open market rent for occupation, but this would need to be a) fully evidenced, b) count as taxable rental income for the children, and c) depend on the view of HMRC


What is a ‘PET’, and how is this treated for IHT?  

A ‘PET’ is a Potentially Exempt Transfer, being a gift made by the donor when alive (gift inter vivos): provided that the donor survives for at least 7 years and retains no benefit from it, the gift will not be liable to IHT: the estate including the gift must exceed the NRB for there to be any concern regarding IHT liability


Under a PET, what IHT is payable if the client dies 4-5 years after the gift was made? 

IHT is payable at a rate of 24%, being 60% of the full 40% rate, known as ‘taper relief’


What is the annual gift exemption for IHT, and what period can this be claimed for?  

The annual gift exemption rate is £3,000 per tax year (6 April to 5 April): this can be claimed for both the current and one previous tax year only, if not already used, i.e. £6,000 maximum


The Testator is gifting £100,000 to his daughter at the time of making his will, and has not made any other such gifts in the last 7 years: assuming his estate is subject to IHT at the time of his death, how much IHT would be payable on the gift if he were to die during the next year ?  

A total of £6,000 could be treated as current and previous tax years’ annual exemption, so IHT at 40% would effectively be payable on £94,000 of the amount i.e. £37,600


A married Testator wishes to make a gift of £130,000 capital in his will to his son, and leave everything else in his estate to his wife: what impact will this have on his NRB when he dies?   

As this gift to his son is to a ‘non-exempt beneficiary’, it would use up and reduce his NRB by 40%, (£130,000 / £325,000), so that on second death his wife’s executors would only be able to claim the other 60% of his NRB as being unused


What are the two rates for Business Property Relief (BPR) allowed for IHT, and how long does the business assets have to be held to be eligible ?  

The two rates are 100% and 50%, dependant on the type of business assets and subject to HMRC acceptance: they must be held for at least 2 years to become qualifying for BPR


Is there a trust that could be embedded in the wills of an unmarried couple to mitigate IHT ?  If so, what type of trust would this be, and how many trustees should be appointed ? Who has a right to the funds / assets in this trust?

This would be a Nil Rate Band Discretionary Trust and at least two trustees should be appointed: as it is a discretionary trust in nature, no-one then has an absolute right to the funds / assets placed in the trust, it is ultimately intended for the chosen beneficiaries but at the discretion of the trustees


What 3 documents are required for Severance of Tenancy on a jointly - owned property ?

1) Mutual Severance of Tenancy letter; 2) Land Registry ‘SEV’ form; 3) A covering letter to send these to the Land Registry for action: this results in a ‘Form A’ restriction to be recorded in the property ‘Proprietorship’ section of the Land Registry, indicating that the property is held as Tenants in Common  


How many Severance of Tenancy Forms should be provided, and how are these to be used i.e. kept, sent etc.

Four Severance of Tenancy Forms should be provided, and after signing by both owners, two copies are retained by them, the third is sent to the Land Registry and the fourth to any mortgage lender involved, in order to notify them, although the lender still has security of the whole property 


Engleman Wills + Powers of Attorney + Probate + Equity Release

 On behalf of APS Legal & Associates Ltd, Head office: Worksop Turbine Innovation Centre, Shireoaks Triangle Business Park, Coach Close, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S81 8AP

 APS Legal & Associates is a member of the Institute of Professional Willwriters

 APS Legal & Associates complies with the Trading Standards Institute Approved IPW Code of Practice


 Click on logo above for link to IPW website