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What is business relief for Inheritance Tax purposes?

Source: HM Revenue & Customs | | 30/04/2019

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. Currently, no tax is payable when a person’s estate is worth £325,000 or less.

Certain business assets may be exempt

There are a number of reliefs available that can reduce liability to IHT if you inherit the estate of someone who had died. One of these reliefs is known as Business Relief and is a valuable tax relief for taxpayers with business interests, offering either 50% or 100% relief from IHT on the value of the business assets if certain conditions are met.

  • 100% Business Relief can be claimed on a business or interest in a business or on shares held in an unlisted company.
  • 50% Business Relief can be claimed on:
    - shares controlling more than 50% of the voting rights in a listed company
    - land, buildings or machinery owned by the deceased and used in a business they were a partner in or controlled
    - land, buildings or machinery used in the business and held in a trust that it has the right to benefit from

Relief is only available if the deceased owned the business or asset for at least 2 years before they died. There are a number of restrictions to the relief, for example, if the company in question mainly deals with securities, stocks or shares, land or buildings, or in making or holding investments. In some cases, partial Business Relief may be available.

The question of whether or not Business Relief is available can be complex and we would recommend that business owners pay attention to the facts to ensure their descendants IHT bill is as low as possible. We can of course help review the facts and advise accordingly.



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