Saving Inheritance tax
Inheritance tax can be a tricky issue to deal with for most people but it is generally considered a “voluntary tax” as good tax planning can greatly reduce your inheritance tax liability or erase it completely. Assets exceeding the current inheritance tax threshold of £325,000 (for tax year 13/14) are taxed at 40%. That’s basically half of your excess assets going straight to the government and not to your loved ones. This is why inheritance tax can be extremely costly for those who have not done sufficient planning. Fortunately, there are many exemptions and allowances to utilise which would significantly reduce the amount of inheritance tax you have to pay. Here are a few things to consider that can help you save some inheritance tax:-
Make a Will
Making a will allows you to know that your estate is divided exactly as you want it to be when you die. In the absence of a will, people that you wish to benefit from your estate such as an unmarried partner may not be entitled to any share in the event of intestacy.
What is a gift?
A gift is something of value given unconditionally to someone without any reservations. The biggest asset that most people are in possession of is their house. However, giving away your house yet trying to live in it may allow HMRC to invalidate the gift as genuine and apply tax on it.
Give away sooner
Majority of gifts you make are classified as “potentially exempt transfers”. If you survive more than seven years after making the gift, no inheritance tax is due on that gift. The amount of tax can be reduced depending on how long you lived after making the gift due to taper relief. Gifts made less than three years before death have no reduction in tax. If the gift was made three to four years before death then tax is reduced by 20%. This increases by 20% for every extra year the donor lives up to seven years where the whole amount is exempt. Therefore it can help relief some financial burden on your death estate if you make gifts sooner rather than later.
Allowances to take advantage of
You can give away gifts worth up to £3,000 in total per person every tax year and these gifts will be exempt from inheritance tax when you pass away. Any unused part of this annual allowance can be carried forward to the following year, but if you don’t use it in that year, the carried-over exemption expires. You can also give up to £5,000 to your children when they marry as a wedding gift. Grandparents can give up to £2,500 and others up to £1,000.
Regular gifting can dramatically reduce your inheritance tax bill as long as they meet the following criteria: they must be from your income, they must be regular and they must not decrease the standard of living of the donor.
Be generous on birthdays
Gifts under £250 to any recipient per tax year are exempt from inheritance tax. This means that it might be worth giving your boy a big birthday present even if he’s been naughty as it helps reduce the tax bill.
Gifts to charities and political parties are tax-free
It’s good to know that any donations you make to charities or political parties are inheritance tax free at least.
Getting Tax Advice
While it is generally more economical for you to do things by yourself, if you have sizeable assets then seeking professional tax advice is well worth your money. You may end up paying a few hundred pounds to potentially save over hundreds of thousands of pounds. I’m no bargain hunter but that sounds like a good deal to me.
By Wilson Law at Tax Affinity Accountants
Tax Affinity Accountants are experts in Tax and Accountancy. Based in Kingston upon Thames they are considered in the Finance Industry to be the experts in all types of Tax including Inhertance Tax. Helping and supporting business and individual throughout the UK, they regularly help people with their Inhertance tax issues.
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