A West Midlands business expert has urged taxpayers across the region to take advantage of inheritance tax rules and not leave their children or beneficiaries with vast bills to settle.
The warning comes from accountant Andrew Hartlebury who said discounts on certain types of property that are left in wills are on the Government’s ‘hit-list’ with the Chancellor coming under increasing pressure to cut the country’s deficit by increasing its income from tax.
The Office of Tax Simplification, established to make the tax system easier to understand, led to the abolition of 43 tax reliefs in 2011 and recommended a further 36 for the Chancellor’s axe.
Last year, following a consultation, it scrapped 28, partially abolished a further four and left four of its proposed relief cuts alone.
Mr Hartlebury, partner at Midland practice dhjh Chartered Accountants, said the Government would now be looking to drop business property relief and agricultural property relief, both of which can slash the amount of inheritance tax payable.
He is advising people to act now to take advantage of current exemptions and allowances.
Mr Hartlebury said: “Led by the Chancellor, the Government talks of introducing tax breaks for married couples and has cut the top rate of income tax. But most people realise it has to be able to increase the amount of money coming in if it wants to reduce the crippling deficit.
“Therefore inheritance tax is politically an easy target as it does not affect people perhaps more than a few times in their lives.
“To help combat this, and before any further changes are introduced, as a firm we have been warning people across the region that correctly drawn up wills are an essential part of planning for inheritance tax.
“Making the most of the often unexplored exemptions currently in place can reduce or even eliminate what beneficiaries may have to pay.”