A new additional nil-rate band of £100,000 for inheritance tax on main residences, when bequeathed to a direct descendent, is set to come into effect from April 2017.
In 2018, 2019 and 2020, this will rise to £125,000, £150,000 and £175,000 respectively, before rising in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) in subsequent years.
Tim Steele, a partner with Palmers who specialises in inheritance tax planning, explained: “The change will affect estates worth £325,000 or more, meaning that from April this year no inheritance tax will be due on estates that include a main residence valued at £100,000 or more which is left to direct descendants and where the total value of the estate is less than £425,000.
“For such estates valued from £425,000 to £2 million, inheritance tax will be charged at 40 per cent of the value of the estate above the threshold, meaning that an estate with a total value of £525,000 would be subject to inheritance tax of £40,000 instead of the current £80,000.
“Where an estate has a net value of £2 million or more, the additional nil-rate band will be withdrawn at a rate of £1 for every £2 of value above this threshold. This means that the additional nil-rate band will not apply in 2017 to estates worth £2.2 million or more, so the effective threshold will remain at the current £325,000. Those estates worth £2.1 million will only be eligible for an additional nil-rate band of £50,000, making the effective threshold £375,000.”
Tim continued: “Where the deceased has moved to a main residence of lower value or sold their home since 8 July 2015 and assets of equivalent value are bequeathed to direct descendants, the estate will still be eligible for the equivalent additional nil-rate band.
“Both the standard and additional nil-band rates will be transferable from a deceased spouse or civil partner where the second spouse or civil partner dies on or after 6 April 2017, effectively doubling the thresholds.
However, it is important to note that the additional nil-rate band will only apply where the “main residence is bequeathed to a direct descendent. This means that it is important to review your Will to ensure that you are able to take full advantage of the new rules and minimise your inheritance tax liabilities.”