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Research finds IHT has little influence on gifting behaviour

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A research report commissioned by HMRC has concluded that IHT was only a minor consideration for the 13% of the population identified as having made gifts above a certain monetary value in the previous two years.

The study, Lifetime gifting: reliefs, exemptions, and behaviours, was commissioned by HMRC and conducted by the National Centre for Social Research in collaboration with the Institute for Fiscal Studies. It aimed to explore people’s awareness of IHT rules and exemptions and the extent to which these factors influenced gifting behaviour.

The survey involved 2,090 interviews conducted with the general population, including 947 interviews with ‘gifters’. For the purposes of this study, ‘gifters’ were people who had given any single gift worth £1,000 or more, or multiple gifts of at least £250 totalling £3,000 or more, over the two years prior to the interview. A gift was defined as anything of value, or the payment of an expense, worth £250 more. Gifts to spouses/civil partners or children under the age of 18 were excluded.

From the general population sample, 12% reported having given a single gift of £1,000 or more in the two years prior to the interview, while 7% had given multiple gifts totalling £3,000 or more. As these two groups largely overlapped, 13% of the population overall were identified as ‘gifters’.

Gift recipients were more likely to be people than organisations, with 80% of larger gifts made to a single person, 32% to two or more people, and 12% to organisations. Only 1% reported gifts to a trust.

Gifts of money made up 76% of the sample, with 29% paying an expense and 17% gifting property.

Relatively few gifters reported being influenced by IHT rules and exemptions. Only 45% of gifters reported being aware of IHT rules or exemptions when they gave their largest gift, with just 18% of this group (or 8% of all gifters) saying IHT influenced that gift. Of those who reported being influenced by IHT, only 12% said they would not have given the gift had the rules or exemptions not been in place. This indicated only around 1% of gifters being motivated primarily by the IHT rules themselves.

Among those who reported being influenced by IHT rules, only 38% said that passing on assets was a purpose of the gift.

The report concludes that, in general, gifting was conducted to support family members as their lives moved through different phases, with IHT and gifting rules being ‘inconsequential’ for most. See

Issue: 1444
Categories: News