Inheritance Tax main residence nil-rate band
Inheritance Tax is levied on a person’s estate when they die at a rate of 40%. There is a nil rate band, currently £325,000, below which no Inheritance Tax is payable. A surviving spouse or civil partner receives the benefit of the nil rate band unused on the death of their partner. This effectively allows for the doubling of the nil rate band for married couples and civil partners.
A new Inheritance Tax main residence nil-rate band (RNRB) will be introduced from April 2017. The RNRB will introduce a new £175,000 per person transferable allowance for married couples and civil partners when their main residence is passed down to children after their death. This allowance is in addition to the existing Inheritance Tax threshold.
The allowance will be phased in from 2017-18 at £100,000, increasing to £125,000 in 2018-19, £150,000 in 2019-20 and £175,000 in 2020-21. The allowance will be available to the deceased person’s children or grandchildren. There will be a tapered withdrawal of the additional nil-rate band for estates with a net value of more than £2m. This will be at a withdrawal rate of £1 for every £2 over this threshold.
There are also special measures in place that ensure there is no disincentive to downsize or sell a home from the date the measure was announced (8 July 2015). If the downsizing results in excess cash being within the estate then this cash will be treated as if it were part of the main residence.
This means that by 2020-21, parents will be able to pass on property worth up to £1 million free of Inheritance Tax to their direct descendants. From 2021/22 onwards the RNRB is due to increase annually in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).