Those thinking about making gifts at Christmas should take advantage of the various inheritance tax (IHT) exemptions and reliefs available to them. Note that certain gifts can also have capital gains tax (CGT) implications.
THE IHT ANNUAL EXEMPTION – USE IT OR LOSE IT!
Although not particularly generous at £3,000 per donor per annum if this annual IHT exemption is not used by 5 April it is lost, although it is possible to carry the allowance forward one year if unused. This means that if the annual allowance for 2017/18 was not used an individual may make gifts of up to £6,000 in 2018/19.
Where the gifts to individuals exceed the annual exemption there may still be no inheritance tax to pay if they survive for 7 years following the gift or the gift falls within the £325,000 nil rate band.
GIFTS OUT OF INCOME ARE NOT TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT FOR IHT
A more generous inheritance tax exemption than the £3,000 annual exemption will apply where the donor can prove that he or she is not transferring capital but is making gifts out of their income. There are detailed conditions for this exemption to apply requiring records to be kept of income and expenditure in order to prove that there is sufficient surplus income each year to make regular gifts to the beneficiaries. We can of course assist you in keeping the necessary records to satisfy HMRC.
CERTAIN GIFTS CAN HAVE CAPITAL GAINS TAX CONSEQUENCES
Although there will be no CGT on gifts of cash there may be CGT to pay where the gift comprises shares or other assets. This is because the transaction will generally be deemed to take place at market value between connected persons even though no money changes hands.
The amount of the gain would normally be determined by comparing the market value with the original cost of the asset gifted.
Where the amount of this gain is within the annual CGT allowance (currently £11,700) then there would be no CGT payable.
Where the gift comprises shares in a trading company or other business assets it may be possible for the donor and recipient to sign an election to hold over the gain so that no CGT is payable by the donor at the time of the gift. The effect of such an election is that the recipient of the asset will take over the donor’s original cost for subsequent disposal. Please get in touch with us if you are considering making gifts of shares or other assets so that we can advise you fully of all the tax implications.