Inheritance Tax  

Safeguard the children's inheritance

  • Identify how the nil rate and residence nil rate band work
  • Describe how pensions can be used in IHT planning
  • Describe how business relief works

A more complex option, but one that can offer greater protection and control, is to set up a trust.

However, as with gifting, once the assets are in the trust the settlor will forfeit access.

The rules surrounding trusts are likely to change, too.

The OTS report states: "The IHT rules applicable to trusts are not straightforward.

"Most individuals do not understand how trusts are used and have no knowledge of how they are taxed.

"It is not uncommon for experienced advisers to make errors as the IHT charged on trusts is difficult to calculate."

 Further, the government recently concluded a separate consultation into the taxation of trusts on which it is yet to report.

Trusts, then, are another area advisers cannot take for granted when it comes to IHT planning.

Business Relief

An alternative tax efficient option is investing in assets that qualify for Business Relief (BR). BR is a longstanding piece of legislation that offers 100 per cent IHT relief on qualifying assets that are held for two years and on death.

There are many restrictions for BR qualification, including shares cannot be publicly listed on any stock exchange and must be held in a company that trades rather than invests.

Many companies listed on the Alternative Investments Market (AIM) qualify for BR and can be held within an ISA.

Since BR shares held for more than two years qualify for IHT relief – at up to 100 per cent - it allows investors a quick and easy route to limiting their tax burden.

Unlike trusts or gifting, BR shares allow individuals to keep control of their money, offering flexibility and the potential to benefit from investment growth.

Further, they are not subject to the same lengthy seven-year wait which currently applies to many estate planning strategies.

The OTS has also cast its eye over BR and recommends that companies need to have 80 per cent of their business dedicated to trading rather than the current ‘wholly or mainly’ rule, generally accepted as more than 50 per cent.

This proposed change is designed to align the qualifying rules for CGT reliefs with IHT reliefs.

Any such change could impact investors’ existing portfolios - another reason why it is important potential investors select a well-established and proven BR provider who is able to work with these changes.

Since the nil rate band has been stubbornly stuck at £325,000 for more than a decade, anyone with an estate exceeding that figure could be liable for IHT.

In response, the government introduced the Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB), which allows homeowners an additional £150,000 before they are subject to IHT.