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Loans to Reduce IHT

Newsletter issue - December 2013

Have you used a loan to reduce the inheritance tax (IHT) which may be due when you die? A common IHT planning technique has been to take out a mortgage on the family home and use those borrowed funds to invest in assets that qualify for 100% exemption from IHT, such as farmland or shares quoted on the AIM stock market. The loan reduces the value of home subject to IHT, and the assets acquired don't attract an IHT charge.

However, this plan has been undermined by a change in the law from 6 April 2013. If the mortgage was taken out, or replaced, on or after that date, the amount of the loan is first deducted from the value of the assets it was used to acquire, not the property it is secured on. This means the loan and the IHT-exempt assets cancel-out each other in the IHT calculation, and no tax is saved.

You need to be aware of this when changing the mortgage on your home. We should talk about inheritance tax planning if the net value of your assets is likely to exceed £325,000. Married couples and those in civil partnerships can hold twice that amount before IHT bites. There are still ways to reduce the potential IHT due, but any plan needs to be tailored to your specific circumstances.

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