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OTS calls for evidence on review of IHT

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The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has published a call for evidence and an online survey to gather information for its review of inheritance tax (IHT), which aims to explore simplification around existing IHT legislation and administrative processes. The OTS published its scoping document in February, following the chancellor’s announcement of the review in January.

The survey begins with a short series of questions designed to assess the respondent’s level of knowledge of current IHT rules, before going on to ask questions specific to the respondent and the nature of their interest.

The call for evidence contains 20 questions, grouped broadly under:

  • payment and forms;
  • probate;
  • estates below the nil rate band;
  • estate administration, record keeping and valuation;
  • lifetime gifts to individuals;
  • businesses property relief;
  • farming businesses;
  • charitable giving;
  • other areas of complexity, including trusts; and
  • wider IHT system reform.

The deadline for responses to both the call for evidence and the survey is 8 June 2018. A report is expected in the autumn. See

John Bunker, chair of the CIOT’s succession taxes sub-committee, is hoping for ‘genuine substantive simplification’ from the review, rather than just a ‘bonfire of taxpayer reliefs and exemptions’. Bunker sees scope for increasing the annual exemption, which has been fixed at £3,000 for more than 30 years, to around to £10,000. Against this, he suggests the marriage and ‘small gifts’ exemptions could be removed.

With regard to trusts, Bunker urges both the OTS and HMRC to recognise that most trusts are set up for non-tax reasons, such as the protection of vulnerable beneficiaries, allowing different people to benefit at different times, and asset protection.

Categories: News , IHT