There is still much uncertainty about the true impact of coronavirus on all aspects of our lives. Inheritance tax is no different, with the fallout of the pandemic affecting the value of estates, inheritance tax planning, and the valuation of business assets, inheritance tax has been affected both directly and indirectly. In this article, we look at some of the ways inheritance tax has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the National Audit Office, the government has spent in excess of £372 billion on supportive measures related to the pandemic. As a result, the Chancellor must implement measures to offset this expenditure. But will this cause a rise in inheritance tax? The answer is complicated. While the rate of inheritance tax and the thresholds for liability will remain the same, the number of estates liable to pay inheritance tax is increasing.
In January 2022, new statistics from HMRC revealed that £4.6bn in inheritance tax was paid to the Government between April and December. That represents a £600m increase when compared to the same period in 2020. But why?
Currently, if you are unmarried and have no children, inheritance tax is charged on the part of your estate that is above £325,000 at a rate of 40%. However, the UK’s housing crisis and soaring property prices mean that more people than ever are becoming liable to inheritance tax charges.
The increased value of estates has an impact on people from all walks of life. Many people who would have never expected the value of their property or other assets to exceed the inheritance tax threshold are failing to properly plan for inheritance tax and take steps to mitigate their bill.
Similarly, the pandemic has sadly caused thousands of sudden deaths. Many people may never have even considered estate planning because they were previously in good health.
But there is some good news when it comes to inheritance tax. With proper estate planning and a properly drafted will, you can take steps to dramatically mitigate your inheritance tax liability. For example, for most people, when you leave your home to a direct descendant in your will, the threshold is increased by £175,000. However, this will depend on the overall value of your estate as to whether this allowance is available, but it is potentially a huge tax saving.
If you are concerned about inheritance tax, you can put your mind at ease by discussing your concerns with an experienced estate planning solicitor who will advise you on your specific circumstances.
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The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.