Inheritance tax, once only paid by the super-rich, has become a middle-class plague as house prices have soared. But millions will now escape this unpopular ‘death duty’ thanks to a chunky new allowance announced by the Chancellor. For all bar the wealthiest, inheritance tax should no longer be a problem. The new rules mean family members will be able to inherit as much as £1 million from 2020 without paying 40% death tax – so long as the estate goes to children or grandchildren and includes a family home worth between £650,000 and £2m.
Where the value of the net estate of the deceased (not just the property concerned) exceeds £2 million, the additional band will be tapered away at a rate of £1 for every £2 that the value of the estate exceeds this limit, meaning there is no incremental additional band on estates worth £2.7m or more. The change is being phased in over the next five years but will eventually boost an individual’s tax-free allowance with an ‘additional main residence allowance’ of £175,000.
The changes are complex but the following scenarios show how they will save certain families more tax:
- Winner 1 – A widow or widower dies, leaving his or her estate worth £1.5million, including a £750,000 family home, to their children. Currently the bill would be £340,000 – or 40% of the value of assets above the couple’s allowance (known as a nil-rate band) of £325,000 each or £650,000. In 2020, the bill would be cut to £300,000, as the children can use £100,000 of ‘additional main residence allowance’, calculated by subtracting the nil-rate allowance from the value of the property.
- Winner 2 – If the above scenario is the same but £1million of the £1.5 million estate lies in the value of the home, the children could claim the maximum extra relief of £350,000 – or £175,000 per parent – cutting their tax bill to £200,000.
Jo Bateson at KPMG says:
‘’The new allowance is a welcome relief for those with houses valued from £650,000 to £1million as they are now able to pass them on to the next generation without an inheritance tax charge. But for those with higher value properties, the relief tapers away to nothing after £2.7million.’
The Government has hinted that parents will be able to downsize without losing the extra allowance. Bateson says:
‘‘These provisions have yet to be announced in detail but we hope it will spur families to release equity to let younger generations get on the property ladder.”
Sources: www.thismoney.co.uk (Article updated: 2015/0714)