Inheritance Tax receipts hit record high in 2017/18

A new report published by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in recent days has revealed that Inheritance Tax (IHT) receipts hit a record high in 2017/18.

Over the course of the year, IHT receipts rose to a record £5.2 billion – an eight per cent increase on figures recorded the previous year, HMRC’s report reveals.

It adds that the average taxpaying male now has an IHT liability of approximately £182,000, while the average taxpaying female has a liability of £176,000.

Regionally speaking, London and South England paid the highest IHT bills last year.

However, many commentators have voiced concerns that all across the country, an increasing number of middle class families are finding themselves liable to pay the tax.

It is thought that this is largely due to rapidly-increasing increasing property wealth, with house prices continuing to rise at a time when the IHT ‘nil rate band’ – above which the tax is paid – has sat at just £325,000 for several years.

According to recent data from HM Land Registry, UK adults aged 50 and above own around £2.3 trillion of the country’s £4 trillion housing wealth – and the average UK property now sells for approximately £243,583.

Former Pensions Minister Steve Webb said: “By far the biggest element in most people’s estates is the property that they own.

“For many years Inheritance Tax limits have not kept up with house prices and that has dragged more and more people into the tax net.

“Even the introduction of an additional nil rate band for families passing on a home to their children was not able to stem the growth in Inheritance Tax revenues.”

His comments highlight the importance of families seeking specialist IHT planning advice.