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Labour is considering trebling of IHT

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The Labour party has confirmed it is considering plans outlined in the Land for the many report that will increase inheritance tax from its current £5.3bn per year to £15bn.

This will include a radical shift from taxing estates to taxing the actual recipients with a much lower threshold before tax becomes due. Under the new proposals, a new lifetime gifts tax would be introduced with threshold of £125,000. After the lifetime limit is reached, any surplus gifts would be taxed at income tax rates, which currently go up to 45%, but are going up to 50% under a Labour government.

If you are looking to minimise the impact of this new tax, there are two obvious options:

  • accelerate the process of transfers of wealth to your children or grandchildren ahead of any possible Labour government; or
  • delay transfers of wealth until after a Labour government in the hope that IHT will be reduced again.

Current proposals suggest there might still be some exemptions from IHT for businesses being handed from one generation to the next. On that basis, families may want to retain their businesses longer than they had planned – as gifts from the sale proceeds of a business will fall under the new IHT rules.

It remains to be seen how these proposals would interact with trusts. Presumably IHT on the trust itself will be abolished but distributions will be treated as lifetime gifts, subject to the new cap.

Geoffrey Todd, Boodle Hatfield

Issue: 1450
Categories: In brief , IHT , Labour Party , politics