Rise in Inheritance Tax takings highlights importance of expert advice

Inheritance Tax (IHT) takings have risen by more than 90 per cent in the last six years – and one in four UK homes are now over the IHT threshold, according to research.

Data unveiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) reeled in approximately £4.72 billion from the so-called ‘death tax’ in the 2015/16 tax year, comparable with £2.47bn in 2009/10 – and representative of a 17 per cent rise over figures recorded in 2014/15.

The news highlights the imminent importance of consulting legal specialists for wealth, wills and inheritance planning advice – particularly as the number of homes that are worth more than the current IHT threshold has reached a ‘record high’ in recent months.

The current £325,000 threshold for payment of IHT has remained unchanged for the past six years and any properties above the threshold can foul of an IHT liability of 40 per cent.

An overhaul of IHT rules is expected for April 2017, but the only way to ensure that your legacy will be preserved for your loved ones exactly as you wish is to appoint the relevant experts to carry out an analysis of your circumstances and IHT obligations.

New Welsh property tax laws could complicate conveyancing process

A new Bill introduced by The Welsh Government will have a number of implications for those buying or selling properties in certain parts of the UK – and for their conveyancers.

Forecast to be introduced in April 2018, the new Land Transaction Tax and Anti-avoidance of Devolved Taxes Bill will see Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) replaced by an all-new Land Transaction Tax (LTT) in Wales.

To add further confusion, LTT will be collected by a new ‘Welsh Revenue Authority’, as opposed to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The tax, which will be payable upon purchase (or lease) of building or land over a certain price, will bring with it a number of changes, particularly in terms of residential leases.

According to reports, a rent element of new residential leases been added to the Bill which, in some cases, will be exempt from tax under LTT, in a bid to simplify the tax and reduce the administrative burdens involved.

However, institutional investors and housebuilders holding property portfolios which span across the whole of the UK will now arguably face greater administrative and compliance burdens in the form of three separate systems of UK land transaction taxes for themselves and their conveyancers to tackle during cross-jurisdiction transactions.

However, on the upside, The Welsh Government has said that the UK’s additional three per cent SDLT surcharge recently imposed upon buy-to-let investors may not form part of LTT legislation.

Reports have suggested that LTT’s adoption of the surcharge, currently payable on purchases of second homes in the UK, is ‘under consideration’ until further notice.

The Welsh Government’s statement regarding the Land Transaction Tax and Anti-avoidance of Devolved Taxes Bill can be found here: http://gov.wales/funding/fiscal-reform/welsh-taxes/land-transaction-tax/?lang=en