Tax is now back at the top of the political agenda in the UK. Following the 2007 political party conferences, the government have probably realised that people do not actually like paying tax, or paying any more than they feel they should. Inheritance tax is widely regarded as one of the most iniquitous taxes, because it is charged on what is left after all other taxes (income tax, capital gains tax, stamp duty, etc) have been paid. No surprise therefore that this is the tax the government are now seeking to soften.
But some new rules introduced do not really go far enough. Although couples without businesses or farms will no longer have to make special wills to benefit from a tax allowance of £300,000 each, those you do own businesses or farms are still required to do this in order to maximise the unique benefits available to them. Furthermore, the £300,000 allowance itself has not been increased, so couples with total assets in excess of £600,000 will still pay tax on death at 40% on assets above that figure. It is vital therefore to see how this bill can be reduced. Happily, some options are still available, which we can advise on.
The ultimate option, if the prospect of your heirs paying yet even more hard earned cash to the government is too taxing, is to leave the UK for good and opt for sunnier climes. As long as you do this correctly, you can avoid inheritance tax here altogether. And in reverse, if you are coming to the UK for the first time, you can arrange things so that your existing assets avoid this tax.