How well do you understand inheritance tax rules?

House and coins - inheritance tax rules

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How well do you understand the ins and outs of inheritance tax rules? What is permissible as a gift, and which exemptions apply?

A survey by HMRC published earlier this year concluded that the public has a relatively poor knowledge of inheritance tax rules and lack of confidence in what they do know.

HMRC commissioned a survey of 947 people who had made gifts in the last two years. To assess knowledge of the inheritance tax rules among these donors, they were asked eight questions, which are shown below.

58% answered five or more questions correctly, while just 37% gave themselves a confidence rating of over 6 out of 10 on answering the questions. After adjusting for confidence levels, the survey concluded that the proportion with a “high knowledge” of inheritance tax rules – as opposed to simply lucky with their answers – was just one in four.

Try your hand at the questions below to see how well you understand inheritance tax rules. The correct answers are shown below.

Whatever your score, it is worth considering why HMRC should have undertaken such a survey at this time. It may be no coincidence that the Office of Tax Simplification published its second report on IHT simplification following the survey. Rationalising the rules on lifetime gifts is an obvious target, but as ever with simplification of inheritance tax rules, there will be some losers. We can help you consider where you might stand on the winning and losing scale.


NoInheritance tax rules

True or False?

1A donation to a charity or a qualifying political party can count as a gift that is exempt from inheritance tax 
2Inheritance tax may be paid on gifts totalling more than £325,000 if the person who makes the gifts dies within seven years of making them. 
3A person can give as many gifts of £250 as they want in a year and not be subject to inheritance tax, as long as each gift is to a different person 
4Inheritance tax may be charged at 40% on gifts to individuals given by the deceased in the three years before their death 
5A gift can be the difference between the value of property and the actual price that the buyer pays 
6Inheritance tax will always be payable on gifts over £3,000 given in the seven years before death 
7A gift up to £1,500 to a niece or nephew getting married is always tax free 
8A married couple or civil partners can leave up to £950,000 to their children without paying inheritance tax 

Answers: True: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8  False:  6, 7

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