It might be frozen, but that shouldn’t stop you from using it again, and again, and again…

Despite major increases in property values, the inheritance tax nil rate band was last increased in April 2009 to £325,000 and it is to remain frozen at this level until April 2026, but did you know that you can use your nil rate band multiple times throughout your lifetime, and not just once at death.

A gift into trust is immediately chargeable to inheritance tax, but with a deduction available for your nil rate band, so an individual can reduce their estate by £325,000 [or a couple by £650,000], potentially reducing their inheritance tax exposure by £130,000 [or £260,000 for a couple]. The gift reduces your nil rate band for subsequent gifts [or on death], but only for a period of seven years, at which point your nil rate band refreshes and can be used again.

Trust planning of this sort doesn’t have to be complicated and can be a highly flexible way of making gifts without losing control of the asset(s) given away, which is particularly attractive if you have yet to decide who you want to ultimately benefit from your estate after your death.

Using a trust to start making gifts of land or buildings is a good idea for farmers and estate owners, particularly if any of the following apply:

  • The property is standing at a substantial capital gain and business asset holdover is unavailable.
  • The value of the property is exposed to inheritance tax, for example let residential property and agricultural lets where market value exceeds agricultural value.
  • The value of the property is currently sheltered from inheritance tax but is likely to become exposed in the future, due to the cessation of business use for example.
  • The value of the property is expected to increase exponentially in the future, for example land with development potential.
Anthony Main
Author Anthony Main

The earlier this sort of trust planning is considered the better, as it gives greater opportunity to re-use your nil rate band.

If you would like to speak with us about your circumstances and possible planning to reduce your inheritance tax exposure, please get in touch.

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