September 9, 2020• •
Comments disabled to Proposed Changes to the IHT for Siblings• •
Posted by Greenwood
Currently, only those who are married or registered life partners are exempt from paying inheritance tax (IHT) on money or property left by their spouse. This was expanded to include heterosexual civil partnerships at the end of 2019.
However, the law does not apply to siblings who live together. You are required to pay the standard IHT rate of 40% of everything above the threshold of £ 325,000.
The injustice this represents for some households was highlighted by the recent case of Catherine and Virigina Utley. They have lived together for over 30 years in the Clapham house they both bought. Despite being a co-owner, after one of them dies, the surviving sister will be forced to sell the property in order to pay for the IHT, which is valued at around £ 140,000.
Lord Lexden is shocked at the injustice of this situation and has submitted a new bill to the House of Lords. Under the new proposals, siblings would be exempt from paying IHT for property leased to one another, provided they had lived together for at least seven years and the surviving sibling was over 30 years old. In addition to brothers and sisters, the law would also apply to half-brothers and sisters and apply in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
While this would be good news for siblings living together, some people feel that the proposed changes don’t go far enough. The new law would still not provide protection for those who live together but are not married or have a civil partnership. Couples living together have no rights to their home after their partner dies. The UK lags far behind other countries in this regard.
A change to the Sibling Cohabitation Act in relation to IHT raises questions about where the line is drawn. Other platonic couples like parents and children or friends who own property together may also want to be considered. The rules must be sufficiently well defined so as not to be open to abuse.
If you’d like to check your IHT liability, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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