IHT – estimating an estate’s value
Inheritance Tax (IHT) is levied on a person’s estate when they die and can also be payable during a person’s lifetime on certain trusts and gifts. The rate of Inheritance Tax payable is 40% on death and 20% on lifetime gifts.
The current IHT nil rate band is £325,000 per person, below which no IHT is payable. This is the amount that can be passed on free of IHT as a tax-free threshold. A reduced rate of IHT of 36% (reduced from 40%) applies where 10% or more of a deceased’s net estate after deducting IHT exemptions, reliefs and the nil rate band is left to charity.
In order to ascertain whether or not IHT is due, the executor or personal representative of the deceased must value the deceased's estate. This is done by calculating the total value of the assets and gifts of the deceased and deducting any debts. An initial estimate of the value of the estate’s value should be undertaken to help determine if there is IHT to pay. This includes ascertaining the value of any assets owned by the deceased on the day they died, an analysis of any gifts made in the seven years prior to death and the value of trusts where the deceased had a beneficial interest.
If the estate is likely to owe tax, then full accurate valuations will be required. IHT is usually due six-months after the end of the month in which the deceased died. In certain cases, it is possible to pay by instalments or to make payments later with the addition of interest.