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Delays in Inheritance Tax Can Be Costly

Writing in Scottish Legal News, John McArthur has called for a complete reworking of the current state of taxes in the UK. “Unless the government find a simpler, easier and more streamlined system for collecting Inheritance Tax”, he states, “the system cannot cope with any increase in the number of estates subject to Inheritance Tax”.

According to the article, between 2016 and 2017 £22.4 billion was inherited from estates that were worth less than the £325,000 Inheritance Tax Nil Rate Band (£650,000 for married couples), a statistic that is more alarming when compared to the £400m-£600m that was spent by the UK Exchequer by not charging Inheritance Tax on business and agricultural assets. Combined with the total of relief given to charities, which exceeded agricultural and business property relief (at around £150million each), and the main reliefs cost the Exchequer a total of slightly over £5.6 billion against Inheritance Tax, a quarter of the tax that wasn’t received from the estates below the Inheritance Tax threshold.

Moreover, as it can take Scottish courts up to ten weeks to pass confirmation in addition to the delays in HMRC, it is, therefore, taking increasingly more time to administrate estates as a consequence. The stock market is also being affected by this, too, where estates are left with the possibility of losing money as executors wait for confirmation.

To resolve these troubling and complex issues, McArthur has urged the Scottish government to look at the country’s Inheritance laws the legislation that is “well passed its use-by date”.

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