Sunak and Hunt may bring in inheritance tax change ‘via backdoor’

The new Prime Minister and Chancellor have the task of steering Britain’s economy back on track. This weekend, Mr Hunt told Sky News: “We’re all going to be paying a bit more tax, I’m afraid.”

The statement has led to concerns about what kind of tax changes might be on the Government’s agenda this week.

After the mini-Budget widely thought of as disastrous, many experts believe Mr Hunt and Mr Sunak are likely to take a more hard-line approach.

Inheritance tax may be a place where the new Government begins, experts have suggested.

Discussion has begun to circulate that inheritance tax thresholds, already frozen until 2025/26 by Mr Sunak in his time as Chancellor, could be halted for even longer.

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Shaun Moore, chartered financial planner at Quilter, said: “Freezing IHT thresholds amounts to raising taxes via the backdoor and if Sunak and Hunt choose to extend the freeze for an additional two years it is likely to net an additional £1billion for government coffers.

“The Government are stuck between a rock and a hard place at the moment as they continue to have to cope with the significant debt it took on to cope with the pandemic but also now has the unenviable job of needing to help alleviate a cost-of-living crisis. 

“Extending the frozen thresholds for an additional two years is an inheritance tax raid by stealth.”

Over the last few years, the number of Britons having to pay IHT has continued to rise with more people drawn into the tax net.

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The current nil-rate band is £325,000, above which a person is likely to become subject to inheritance tax.

However, if the nil-rate band were to rise with inflation, it would reach £338,000 by the 2026/27 tax year under Quilter’s projections.

The organisation states this would again rise in 2027/28 to £351,520 if inflation were to be taken into account. 

The circumstances of inheritance tax and whether changes will occur is likely to be announced this Thursday, November 17.

However, regardless of whether a change does occur, experts suggest Britons begin to get their affairs in order.

Andrew Tully, technical director at Canada Life, said: “Planning needs to take place for more people and happen much earlier in life.

“There is a considerable amount of planning which can reduce IHT bills. 

“These include setting up a trust, making full use of gift allowances which allow you to pass on money to family while reducing your estate, and leaving a legacy to a charity within your will.”

Britons may wish to speak to an independent, regulated financial adviser, or find support via the Government-backed service MoneyHelper. 

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