Many were expecting the chancellor to announce changes to inheritance tax (IHT) in his Autumn Budget, However, like capital gains tax (CGT), the rules have remained broadly the same as last year. That means that each tax year individuals may make gifts of up to £3,000 in total and that amount is not included in their cumulative total of gifts for IHT. Even if the £3,000 annual exempt amount is exceeded, provided it is an outright gift to an individual, there would be no inheritance tax payable provided the donor survives for 7 years.
Note that the gift of an asset other than cash may also give rise to a capital gain and CGT may be payable where the asset has increased in value. However if you give away a business asset such as shares in your trading company it is possible to make a claim to hold over the gain so that no CGT is payable. We can of course advise you on the procedure to follow.
REGULAR GIFTS OUT OF YOUR INCOME IS TAX EFFICIENT
One tax planning opportunity that many thought the chancellor might restrict was the exemption from inheritance tax for regular gifts out of an individual’s income. Inheritance tax is designed to tax transfers of capital so if the donor can demonstrate that the gifts are made out of surplus income then the transfers are not taken into consideration for IHT. The exemption applies where there is a regularity to the payments, such as a standing order to pay school fees. HMRC will also require proof that the payments are paid out of post-tax income and do not limit the donor’s normal lifestyle. Detailed records are required, and we can help you.
GIFTS TO CHARITY
Where possible taxpayers should “Gift Aid” any payments to charity to provide a further benefit to the charity. Higher rate taxpayers obtain additional tax relief on the grossed-up amount donated.
For example, where an individual makes a £20 cash donation to charity the charity is able to reclaim a further £5 from HMRC making a gross gift of £25. Where the individual is a 40% higher rate taxpayer he or she is able to claim a further £5 tax relief under self-assessment, reducing the net cost of their donation to £15.
Note that the donor is required to make a declaration that they are a UK taxpayer and those that have not suffered sufficient UK tax to support the Gift Aid amount will taxed on the shortfall.
Remember that Gift Aid does not just apply to gifts of cash. Many charity shops will now sell donated items on your behalf and are able to treat the sale proceeds as Gift Aided donations. It is also possible to gift quoted securities and land and buildings to charity and claim Gift Aid on the market value of those assets.