Inheritance tax payments at 6 year high

By Lenore Rice

The amount of inheritance tax paid by people in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK rose for a third consecutive year in 2012, taking it to a 6-year-high of £3.1billion.

The frozen threshold rate at which inheritance tax becomes payable, together with the recovering property market and increased savings are thought to be behind the increase. The threshold has been frozen at £325,000, and will remain so until at least April 2015. The result is that an increasing number of families are paying inheritance tax on estates as a result of rising house prices.

Residential properties are usually the most valuable asset in an estate, so it is understandable that the weak property market in Northern Ireland means that it is one of the regions of the UK with the lowest number of estates having to pay inheritance tax.

Lenore Rice, a solicitor specialising in probate and inheritance tax at Wilson Nesbitt in Northern Ireland, commented:

"While the number of estates in Northern Ireland liable to pay inheritance tax is comparatively lower than other parts of the UK, there are still a significant number that fall on the costly side of the threshold, and that number will only start to increase if the local property market continues on from its' renewed stability.

"In many cases, inheritance tax is paid needlessly because no Will was made. Similarly, other people could lower their inheritance tax obligations by gifting money during their lifetime, setting up a trust and through careful tax planning."

For information and advice about inheritance tax or writing a Will, contact one of the probate solicitors at Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast by calling 0800 840 9293.