Inheritance tax: who pays it, how much tax is generated, and will only the wealthy benefit from its abolition?

With party conference season upon us, scrapping inheritance tax has once again emerged as a centerpiece for the incoming government, as the Conservative Party looks for ways to appeal to voters and reduce Labor’s lead in the polls.

So how many people pay inheritance tax and how much is it? Will the abolition of inheritance tax help thousands of grieving loved ones, or will homeowner maintenance Will it be a boon for party supporters?

Or is this just a smart policy measure that benefits both groups, given rising house prices? still expensive than before the pandemic and inflation. between double digit months region?

There is widespread distaste for the inheritance tax, a false belief among taxpayers that they are paying tax because of tolls, and calls for its abolition and reform from all sides. Chancellor Rishi Sunak believes that only a small proportion of assets will be affected by inheritance tax. We have arrived at a policy that few will miss in its current form.

After all, it’s what Conservatives call their “most hated tax.”

Only a small percentage of people pay inheritance tax, but the amount could be significant for some, according to new data from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). If all non-spouse inheritances transferred next year were divided equally between all 25-year-olds, each would receive around £120,000.

The Prime Minister declined to comment on inheritance tax “speculation”.

How many people are paying?

The latest figures released by tax authority HMRC show that 27,000 estates paid inheritance tax in 2020-21. Inheritance includes personal assets, such as a home, jewelry, and other valuables. Pensions and insurance proceeds are not subject to inheritance tax.

By comparison, more than 500,000 people (577,160) died in England and Wales in 2022.

Essentially, less than 4% (3.73%) of estates paid inheritance tax in 2020-2021.

And the number of estates paying inheritance tax has increased by 4,000 compared to the previous tax year, 2019-2020. COVID-19 (new coronavirus infection) Pandemic.

what are they paying?

Inheritance tax is currently levied at 40% and applies to estates over £325,000. However, some allowances are only paid for more valuable properties.

If you pass on your main residence to your children or grandchildren, you will receive an additional £175,000 allowance. This means that only the amount of £500,000 is subject to inheritance tax. Couples will be able to split the allowance and double it, allowing their children to inherit a £1 million tax-free inheritance.

Mr Sunak is said to be considering cutting the levy in March’s budget, with a view to its eventual abolition.

Official figures from HMRC show that £5.76bn of inheritance tax debt was accumulated in the 2020-2021 tax year. This was higher than previous years due to the high number of deaths from coronavirus infections that year, increasing by 16% to £800m.

Provisional figures from HMRC show more than £3bn of revenue has been generated in just four months this year, with June setting a new monthly record.

While inheritance tax hits new highs, other forms of wealth tax, such as capital gains tax (CGT) (a tax levied on income such as second property or shares), also rise to new levels above inheritance tax. It is reaching a high price.

According to HMRC, CGT added £16.7bn to the public purse in the 2021-2022 tax year, with the money coming from 94,000 taxpayers.

Meanwhile, inheritance tax collections between April and August this year were £3.2bn, an increase of £300m on the same period last year due to rising property values ​​and property values. rate increases This means that if you pay late to HMRC, you will be charged more interest.

It is worth noting that tax revenues have increased overall. This is not limited to inheritance tax.

combination of higher wages And as goods have become more expensive (again due to inflation), yields on income tax, national insurance and capital gains tax have risen. HMRC said that between April and August this year it was £19.8bn more than last year, taking the total to £331.1bn.

IFS analysis estimates the cost of decommissioning would be £7bn.

Who is paying?

In concept, it would be paid by those who inherit properties worth more than £500,000, but figures show that few people actually pay.

In theory, inheritance tax should be levied on the wealth of the wealthy, but there are ways to avoid paying the tax. Those who have legal or tax advisors can limit their liability.

For example, gifts totaling up to £3,000 can be received tax-free. While this may be possible (and profitable) for wealthy people passing on collectible items, it is not possible for middle-income earners inheriting their parents’ homes.

But commentators say the Treasury could soon receive even more from inheritance tax.

Research from investment services provider Wealth Club says the number of people paying out inheritances will rise by 50% in 10 years, potentially generating £9bn in returns by 2029.

“The combination of rising house prices and inflation will increase both the number of households paying inheritance tax and the amount they pay,” said Nicholas Hyett, investment manager at Wealth Club.

The IFS goes a step further in new analysis, saying around £15bn could be collected from inheritance tax in 10 years’ time.

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Who will benefit from the inheritance tax reduction?

Even people who do not consider themselves wealthy are subject to inheritance tax. housing prices are rising; recent inflation cycles raised the price.

Inheritance tax rates have been frozen since 2009 and are not scheduled to change until 2028, even though most prices remain at 2009 levels.

People who don’t have a spouse to share the tax credit with or who don’t want to pass on their inheritance to their children or grandchildren are the ones who miss out on the tax credit in the process.

Almost half (47%) of the benefits of the inheritance tax ban will go to the top 1% of estates, or those with estates of £2.1m or more, according to IFS research.

IFS figures show this group will benefit from an average tax cut of around £1.1 million. The vast majority of estates (approximately 90%) that do not pay inheritance tax are not directly affected by this ban.

According to the IFS, those who will not benefit are those without assets. By the time the inheritance arrives, wealth inequality is already deep-seated and difficult to reverse, the think tank says.

In other words, unless you have already wealthy parents, inheritance tax is not very advantageous.

Whether this policy is designed to benefit wealthy people like Rishi Sunak will depend on what the tax is replaced with.

Why could it end up on the scrap heap?

Inheritance taxes are widely disliked.

A YouGov poll conducted for The Times found that the public believes they will be affected, despite data showing less than 4% of properties have ultimately paid the levy. That’s what it means.

Almost a third (31%) of survey participants believe their assets are worth enough to pay inheritance tax, and 15% believe they should pay tax on what they inherited. I thought it had to be done.

Only 5% said the inheritance tax threshold was £1m.

Needless to say, politicians are against it. This is not the first time the Conservatives have tried to abolish not have 3 months have passed Since the Conservative Party last flew this particular policy kite.

Labor has been adamant in recent days against abolishing inheritance tax, saying it would be a tax cut with no funding.

Even the left-leaning think tanks Resolution Foundation and IFS want to abolish the tax.

What about inheritance tax?

Alternative proposal

The Resolution Foundation and IFS both have ideas about what should be done instead.

The Resolution Foundation proposes that everyone be given a lifetime allowance. Each person can inherit up to £125,000 during his lifetime, after which he must pay a tax rate of 20%. For amounts up to £500,000, the 30% rate of tax should apply on amounts above £500,000 after the £125,000 cut.

The foundation suggests that gifts and assets transferred between spouses should be exempt.

Analysis by the think tank suggests it has more economic benefits than the current inheritance tax, with the potential to collect £5bn more a year than was raised in 2020-21. This equates to £11 billion in tax revenue.

Another benefit, according to the Resolution Foundation, is that everyone benefits for the rest of their lives, making it easier to spread wealth among family members.

A further option proposed by Wealth Club is to keep taxes where they are and simply increase the tax points in line with inflation.

In any case, voters are unlikely to hear an announcement about the future of the tax system until Mr Sunak’s Conservative Party conference speech in early October or the government’s autumn statement in November.

Sources told Sky News that despite reports, no changes will be made this year.

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