In January this year the Chancellor, Philip Hammond wrote to the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) to request a review of the current Inheritance Tax (IHT) rules, describing them as “particularly complex” and looking for proposals for “simplification, to ensure the system is fit for purpose and makes the experience of those who interact with it as smooth as possible”. A “Call for Evidence” consultation paper was sent out to stakeholders by the OTS on 27th April, seeking views on the problems caused by the current rules, and proposals for simplifications, with a deadline of the 8th June. The review is expected to recommend some changes to Business Property Relief (BPR) and Agricultural Property Relief (APR), along with other rule changes. BPR in particular was originally aimed at protecting assets for entrepreneurs, and is important for farmers, estate owners and holiday park owners in protecting their family assets and businesses for future generations. However these rules have also led to wealthy individuals making strategic investments in land and property to reduce their own personal IHT bill, which was not the intention. It will be interesting to see therefore if the review recommends changes to BPR and APR, and then whether those recommendations are actually taken up by the Chancellor. Results of the review are expected to be published shortly.


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