Recent Changes and Updates in UK Inheritance Tax

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Inheritance tax (IHT) is a topic of ongoing interest and concern for individuals and families in the United Kingdom. As with any tax, the rules and regulations surrounding inheritance tax are subject to changes and updates over time. Staying informed about these changes is essential for effective estate planning and ensuring compliance with the law. In this article, we will explore some of the recent changes and updates in UK inheritance tax, including amendments to rates, thresholds, reliefs, exemptions, and relevant case law.

  1. Nil-Rate Band and Main Residence Nil-Rate Band (MRNRB)

The nil-rate band, which sets the threshold below which no inheritance tax is payable, has remained unchanged for several years at £325,000. However, the main residence nil-rate band (MRNRB) has seen significant changes in recent years. Introduced in 2017, the MRNRB provides an additional allowance when the main residence is passed on to direct descendants. As of the current tax year, the MRNRB stands at £175,000. It is worth noting that the MRNRB is tapered for estates valued above a certain threshold. Staying up to date with the MRNRB and its limitations is crucial for individuals who wish to maximize this additional allowance and reduce their inheritance tax liability.

  1. Consultation on Simplifying IHT Reporting

In 2018, the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) conducted a review of the inheritance tax system. One of the recommendations made was to simplify the reporting process for estates subject to inheritance tax. In response to this recommendation, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) launched a consultation in 2020 seeking views on proposals to streamline and simplify the IHT reporting requirements. The aim is to reduce the administrative burden on executors while maintaining the necessary safeguards to ensure tax compliance. Keeping abreast of these proposed changes and any subsequent updates is important for individuals involved in estate administration.

  1. Potential Changes to Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

Although not directly related to inheritance tax, potential changes to capital gains tax (CGT) can have implications for inheritance tax planning. In 2020, the OTS conducted a separate review of CGT, and some of the recommendations made could impact how assets are valued and transferred for inheritance tax purposes. While no immediate changes have been implemented, it is important to monitor developments in CGT as they could have indirect consequences for inheritance tax planning strategies, particularly in relation to gifting assets during an individual’s lifetime.

  1. Impact of Case Law and Court Decisions

Court decisions and case law can have significant implications for inheritance tax planning. Recent cases involving disputes over inheritance tax liabilities and reliefs highlight the importance of understanding legal precedents and their potential impact on estate planning strategies. Staying informed about relevant court decisions and their interpretation by legal experts is crucial to ensure compliance with the law and make informed decisions regarding inheritance tax planning.

  1. Changes in Political and Economic Landscape

Inheritance tax can be influenced by political and economic factors. Changes in government policies and economic conditions can impact inheritance tax rates, thresholds, and exemptions. Keeping track of political developments and staying informed about economic trends can help individuals anticipate potential changes in inheritance tax legislation and adjust their estate planning strategies accordingly. Engaging with professional advisors who have expertise in inheritance tax and closely monitor these changes can provide valuable guidance and ensure that estate plans remain up to date and effective.


Inheritance tax is a complex and evolving area of taxation, and recent changes and updates have important implications for individuals and families. Staying informed about amendments to rates, thresholds, reliefs, exemptions, relevant case law, and proposals for simplification is essential for effective estate planning and compliance with the law. Engaging the services of qualified tax advisors and solicitors who specialize in inheritance tax can provide valuable insights and guidance in navigating these changes and ensuring that estate plans are robust, efficient, and up to date.

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