From 6 April 2017, the rules on Inheritance tax changed, providing for an additional “family home” allowance called the residence nil rate band (RNRB) or additional threshold where an individual has a qualifying property that forms part of their estate. In 2019/20 while the standard Inheritance Tax threshold (nil rate band) remains unchanged on 2018/19 band at £325,000, the residence nil rate band has increased from £125,000 to £150,000. Individuals can now pass on assets – which include the family home – to their children or grandchildren worth up to £475,000, with no Inheritance tax liability. The residence nil rate band increases to £175,000 in 2020-21 after which it is planned to rise in line with inflation each year thereafter. The standard nil rate band will remain at £325,000 until April 2021 and will then also rise in line with inflation.
Certain lifetime gifts can be made without giving rise to an inheritance tax charge. For 2019/20 the annual gift exemption is £3,000 and it is worth considering making a gift of this amount if you are in a position to do so.
In addition, if you did not make use of any part of the £3,000 annual gift exemption to which you were entitled in 2018/19, then this can be utilised before 5th April 2020 as long as the current year’s allowance is also fully used. It can only be carried forward for one year and then, if unused, it is lost.
Unlimited gifts can also be made in the form of Potentially Exempt Transfers (PETs). Provided you live for 7 years after making the gift, it will be free of inheritance tax.
Please ensure that, should a gift be made by cheque, sufficient time is given for the cheque to clear before 5th April; otherwise it will not be included in the current year’s total.
Gifts of £250 can be made to any number of separate individuals without giving rise to an inheritance tax charge. Gifts of varying amounts can also be made between family members on the occasion of a wedding/civil partnership ceremony, without any inheritance tax liability.