A series of articles highlighting key areas that affect taxpayers and practitioners involved with inheritance tax and estates and identifying opportunities to mitigate inheritance tax.
 
Nil Rate Band
 
The amount that may be passed on to a person’s beneficiaries free of inheritance tax is determined by the nil rate band at the date of death.
 
The nil rate band for inheritance tax has been frozen at £325,000 per person since 2010.
 
The Chancellor announced in the Autumn Statement that the amount of the nil rate band will rise to £329,000 with effect from 6 April 2015.
 
Since October 2007 it has been possible to transfer the unused proportion of the nil rate band between spouses, although the benefit of this can only be realised on the death of the second person and not in respect of a lifetime transfer, such as a transfer to trust.
 
Where a person survives more than one spouse, the maximum amount of the nil rate that may be transferred is equivalent to one full nil rate band.
 
However, with careful tax planning, it may be possible for their combined estate to benefit from 3 full nil rate bands. Thus reducing the overall amount of inheritance tax payable.
 
Ideally inheritance tax planning such as this should be undertaken during lifetime through careful drafting of Wills, although it may also be possible to implement the planning post death through a deed of variation.

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