Inheritance Tax  

IHT receipts hit £5.3bn as experts heed 'record-breaking year'

IHT receipts hit £5.3bn as experts heed 'record-breaking year'
  [REUTERS/Henry Nicholls]

HM Revenue & Customs recorded a £700mn uptick in inheritance tax (IHT) receipts between April and December last year, totalling £5.3bn, which has prompted some experts to predict another potentially "record-breaking" year.

In his Autumn Statement in November, chancellor Jeremy Hunt opted to freeze the IHT threshold of £325,00 for a further two years, to 2027/28.

Some have forecast this could net the government more than £1bn, with the average inheritance tax bill reaching £304,567 by 2025-26 and £345,084 by 2027-28, according to research by Wealth Club.

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Partner at Deepbridge Capital, Andrew Aldridge, said given the chancellor’s freezing of IHT thresholds for a further two years and inflation remaining high, he anticipates that HMRC receipts will continue to rise in the near term.

While Andrew Tully, technical director at Canada Life, said the latest IHT receipts put the UK on a trajectory for "a record-breaking year".

He continued: "With the frozen thresholds catching more estates in a wider tax take, inheritance tax is no longer an issue for the wealthy only."

Source: HMRC

The rising tax, some experts have said, could pose a very real risk for homeowners whose property values have grown over the past year - even if property prices have been on a downward trajectory in more recent months.

"Runaway house prices and stagnant thresholds mean more people are dying with property wealth over the various inheritance tax allowances," said Shaun Moore, tax and financial planning expert at Quilter.

"Although house prices are expected to drop over the next year, recent data from Halifax revealed that over the past 40 years house prices have gone up a staggering 974 per cent since early 1983.

"This means that many people have seen their properties go up enormously in value and while they might not consider themselves wealthy, they will end up paying inheritance tax which is typically viewed as a tax for the very affluent."

A Freedom of Information request by retirement specialist Just Group found that the property accounted for 50 per cent of the wealth in London estates paying IHT compared to 32 per cent for the rest of the UK.  

“Further significant house price rises through the pandemic are likely to have tipped many more estates over the inheritance tax threshold, perhaps without the homeowners even realising," said Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group.

“It is yet another reminder for people of the importance of regularly assessing the value of their estate which includes getting an up-to-date valuation of any owned property."