“IN THIS WORLD nothing can be said to be certain,
except death and taxes.”
(Attributed to Benjamin Franklin.)
While we may not be able to avoid either of these inevitabilities, there are ways to lessen the burden of one of them: inheritance tax (IHT). Inheritance tax can be a significant concern for individuals and families, as it can erode the value of an estate and limit the assets that can be passed on to loved ones. Fortunately, there are some basic strategies that can be employed to reduce IHT, from making gifts during your lifetime to setting up trusts.
In today’s Shipleys Tax note, we will look at some effective ways of reducing IHT, thus ensuring that your loved ones inherit as much of your wealth as possible.
What is IHT?
Inheritance tax (IHT) is a tax on the value of an individual’s estate exceeding the IHT threshold (£325,000) when they pass away. In the UK, the current rate of IHT is 40%, which can significantly reduce the amount of assets that can be passed on to heirs.
5 tips to reduce IHT
However, there are several ways in which you can reduce the amount of IHT that will be payable on your estate. Here are some basic tips to help you minimise your IHT liability:
- Use your annual exemption: Each individual is entitled to an annual exemption of £3,000 for IHT purposes. This means that you can give away up to £3,000 each year without incurring any IHT liability. This can be a useful way to gradually reduce the value of your estate over time.
Illustration: If Adam has an estate worth £500,000, he can give away £3,000 each year to his children without incurring any IHT liability. Over a period of 10 years, John will have reduced the value of his estate by £30,000.
- Make gifts out of your surplus income: You can make gifts out of your surplus income without incurring any IHT liability. To qualify as surplus income, the gifts must be regular, made from your income (after tax) and must not affect your standard of living. This can be a useful way to pass on wealth to your loved ones during your lifetime.
Illustration: If Sara has an income of £60,000 per year and her living expenses amount to £40,000, she has a surplus income of £20,000. She can make gifts of up to £20,000 each year to her children without incurring any IHT liability.
- Make use of the annual small gifts exemption: You can make gifts of up to £250 to any number of individuals each year without incurring any IHT liability. This can be a useful way to pass on small amounts of wealth to family and friends.
Illustration: If Tom has 10 grandchildren, he can make gifts of £250 to each of them each year, without incurring any IHT liability.
- Set up a trust: You can set up a trust to hold assets for the benefit of your heirs. This can be a useful way to reduce the value of your estate for IHT purposes. There are different types of trusts available, and it’s important to seek professional advice to ensure that you choose the right one for your needs.
Illustration: If Imran has an estate worth £1 million, he can set up a trust and transfer £500,000 of assets into it. As long as he survives for 7 years after making the transfer, the value of the assets in the trust will not be subject to IHT.
- Give gifts to charity: Gifts to charity are exempt from IHT. This can be a useful way to reduce the value of your estate and support a cause that you care about.
Illustration: If Maryam has an estate worth £1 million, she can leave a gift of £100,000 to her favourite charity in her will. This will reduce the value of her estate to £900,000 and the amount of IHT payable.
In general, reducing Inheritance Tax (IHT) can be a complex and sensitive issue, but it is an important consideration for individuals with significant assets. While the current IHT threshold may seem generous, many estates can quickly exceed it, resulting in a substantial tax bill for heirs. It is therefore important to seek professional advice to ensure that you choose the right strategy for your individual circumstances.
Working with a tax specialist at Shipleys Tax can help you navigate the various options and create a tailored plan to minimize IHT while ensuring that your assets are passed on to your intended beneficiaries. By taking proactive steps to reduce IHT, you can ensure that your hard-earned wealth is preserved for future generations, rather than being absorbed by the taxman.
If you are affected by any of the issues above and would like more information, please call 0114 272 4984 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Shipleys Tax do not give free advice by email or telephone.