October 4, 2023

Exploring Current Trends and Rumours About UK Inheritance Tax.

Inheritance Tax Planning


Inheritance tax (IHT) in the United Kingdom has been a subject of debate and speculation for many years. This tax, levied on the estate of a deceased person, has witnessed numerous changes and discussions, both within the political arena and among taxpayers. In this article, we will delve into the current trends and rumours surrounding IHT in the UK, shedding light on the latest developments and potential future changes. 

Current Inheritance Tax Trends 

  1. Increasing Revenue Collection: One significant trend in recent years has been the steady increase in revenue collection through IHT. As property values rise, more estates have exceeded the tax threshold. This has resulted in the government collecting higher amounts of revenue from IHT, leading to calls for reform from various quarters. 
  1. Rise in Demand for Estate Planning: The complexity of IHT rules and the desire to minimize the tax burden on heirs have led to a surge in demand for estate planning services. Individuals and families are increasingly seeking professional advice to structure their estates efficiently and make use of available exemptions and reliefs. 
  1. Impact of the Residential Nil Rate Band (RNRB): The introduction of the RNRB in April 2017 has had a notable impact. This additional allowance for those passing on their primary residence to direct descendants has reduced the IHT liability for many families. However, it has also introduced complexities in the tax code, such as downsizing provisions, which can be challenging to navigate. 
  1. Focus on Gifting: A trend that continues to gain traction is the practice of gifting assets during one’s lifetime to reduce the taxable value of their estate. Regular gifts, the seven-year rule, and the use of trusts are strategies commonly employed to minimize IHT. 
  1. Discussions on Wealth Tax: While not strictly related to IHT, discussions about the introduction of a wealth tax in the UK have sparked rumours and debates about potential overlaps with IHT. Some speculate that a wealth tax could replace or supplement IHT, although this remains uncertain. 

Current IHT Rumours 

  1. IHT Threshold Reduction: One persistent rumour is the possibility of the government lowering the IHT threshold, which currently stands at £325,000 for individuals and £650,000 for married couples and civil partners. This could potentially bring more estates into the taxable bracket. 
  1. IHT Rate Reduction:  Paradoxically, a more recent rumour suggests that Rishi Sunak is considering abolishing IHT preceded by a sharp reduction in the IHT rate. 
  1. Revision of RNRB: There have been speculations about revising or even eliminating the Residential Nil Rate Band, which has been criticized for its complexity and perceived inequalities. Such a change could significantly impact families relying on this relief to reduce their IHT liability. 
  1. Changes in Trust Taxation: Rumours suggest that the government might introduce changes in the taxation of trusts, which have long been used for estate planning purposes. Potential alterations could affect how assets in trusts are treated for IHT purposes. 
  1. Wealth Tax as a Replacement: While discussions about a wealth tax are ongoing, there are rumours that it might replace or modify the existing IHT system. This uncertainty has left many taxpayers and professionals in a state of apprehension.  For some, it will be the reason for them leaving the UK. 


IHT in the UK remains a topic of continuous discussion, with both current trends and rumours shaping the landscape of estate planning and taxation. As property values rise and the government seeks ways to bolster its revenue, it is essential for individuals and families to stay informed about potential changes to IHT rules. Consulting with financial and legal professionals for estate planning advice has become increasingly crucial in navigating the complexities of IHT and optimising one’s financial legacy. While rumours abound, it is essential to remain vigilant and adapt to any new developments in the UK’s IHT landscape.