HMRC has published further details of its proposals to amend the inheritance tax rules for non-domiciled individuals.
The changes were initially announced at the 2015 Summer Budget which were aimed at preventing non-doms from escaping a UK inheritance tax (IHT) charge on UK residential property through use of an offshore structure, and thereby bringing to an end the permanent non-dom status for tax purposes.
The consultation document suggests that individuals who are non-domiciled in the UK currently enjoy a significant advantage over other individuals for IHT purposes. UK-domiciled individuals are liable to IHT on their worldwide property, whereas non-doms are only liable on property that is situated in the UK.
Any residential property in the UK owned by a non-dom directly is within the charge of the IHT. However, a common loophole is for such individuals to hold UK residential properties through an overseas company or similar vehicle. In such a case, the property of the individual consists of overseas shares which will be situated outside the UK and are thus excluded from IHT.
In an effort to curb such structures HMRC plans to bring residential properties in the UK within the charge to IHT where they are held within an overseas structure. This charge will apply both to individuals who are domiciled outside the UK and to trusts with settlors or beneficiaries who are non-domiciled. The changes will come into effect from 6 April 2017.
Shares in offshore close companies and similar entities will no longer be deemed excluded property if, and to the extent that, the value of any interest in the entity is derived, directly or indirectly, from residential property in the UK. Where a non-dom is a member of an overseas partnership that holds a residential property in the UK, such properties will no longer be treated as excluded property for IHT purposes.
The consultation will close on October 20. The effect of these proposals will mean structures set up to mitigate IHT will now need to be reviewed in light of the above and specialist tax advice sought.