Inheritance tax – Investors who want to settle assets into trust
Archived article: please remember tax and investment rules and circumstances can change over time. This article reflects our views at the time of publication.
This article is adapted from Octopus Investments' publication "Identifying clients who could benefit from BPR-qualifying investments" and it is reproduced with its permission. Read more about Octopus Investments.
The article has been written in accordance with Octopus Investments’ understanding of the law and interpretation of it at the time of publication: remember tax rules can change and benefits depend on circumstances.
Settling assets into trust is a way of reducing a potential inheritance tax bill as they are no longer part of your estate.
With a discretionary trust, however, investors are subject to a ‘chargeable lifetime transfer’ – a charge of 20% on the amount settled in excess of the investor’s nil-rate band.
This charge can be effectively eliminated by investing in BPR-qualifying shares and then settling those shares into trust after two years, after which time they should become exempt from inheritance tax.
Louise wants her wealth passed down
Louise wants her wealth passed down to her younger generations. One of her biggest concerns is that the marriage of one of her children could end in divorce. Louise wants to make sure that her grandchildren will benefit from her wealth, rather than her assets being lost through any divorce proceedings.
Louise wished to settle her existing share portfolio worth £600,000 into trust for her children and grandchildren. As she has not previously made any gifts or set up any trusts, she will be able to put the first £325,000 (the nil-rate band) into trust with no charge. Anything settled into trust over £325,000 would immediately trigger a chargeable lifetime transfer of 20%. This would reduce the amount in the trust by £55,000.
If Louise were to die within seven years of setting up the trust, further inheritance tax would also be payable.
How a BPR-qualifying investment can help
Louise could consider selling her share portfolio and reinvesting the proceeds into a BPR-qualifying investment.
Once the BPR-qualifying shares have been held for a minimum of two years, they should be exempt from inheritance tax. Louise can then transfer the shares into a discretionary trust and no chargeable lifetime transfer will be payable.
If the trust continues to hold investments that qualify for BPR, there will be no future inheritance tax charge on the trust and no further charge on her estate if she dies within seven years.
Key investment risks
- The value of a BPR-qualifying investment, and any income from it, can fall as well as rise. Investors may not get back the full amount they invest.
- Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and could change in the future.
- Tax relief depends on portfolio companies maintaining their BPR-qualifying status.
- The shares of unlisted or smaller companies (including AIM-quoted shares) could fall or rise in value more than other shares listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. They may also be harder to sell.
- BPR-qualifying investments are not suitable for everyone. Neither Wealth Club nor Octopus Investments offer investment or tax advice or personal recommendations. If you are unsure an investment is right for you, please seek specialist advice.
Wealth Club aims to make it easier for experienced investors to find information on – and apply for – tax-efficient investments. You should base your investment decision on the provider's documents and ensure you have read and fully understand them before investing. This review is a marketing communication. It is not advice or a personal or research recommendation to buy the investment mentioned. It does not satisfy legal requirements promoting investment research independence and is thus not subject to prohibitions on dealing ahead of its dissemination.
Octopus Inheritance Tax Service
The largest service of its kind, it gives experienced investors an opportunity to protect their assets from inheritance tax.Read more and apply online