Currently in the UK Inheritance Tax (“IHT”) is charged on death in relation to a deceased person's chargeable estate (with the inclusion of gifts made in the seven years prior to death and gifts made with reservation of benefit). IHT is broadly charged at a rate of 40% of the value of the estate on death over and above £325,000 (being the band of exclusion for each individual).
A surviving civil partner or spouse (which term includes from 13 March 2014 same sex spouses) can effectively "inherit" the unused percentage of their deceased spouse or partner's nil rate band, making an effective threshold of £650,000 for such couples.
The current Prime Minister, David Cameron, promised, in the course of an interview published last weekend by The Sunday Times, that in the event of a conservative victory in the UK General Election on 7th May 2015, he will increase the IHT nil rate band to £1,000,000. For the record, the same promise was made by Mr Cameron prior to the last General Election but the Sunday Times reports that it was not implemented due to the opposition of the Liberal Democrats.
In his interview , Cameron said the Conservative manifesto to be published this week will boost the threshold to seven figures from April 2017. "This is a tax that is meant to be paid by the rich and not by hard-working families who have saved to buy a home and improve it," Cameron was quoted as saying by the newspaper. The Sunday Times said the £1 billion annual cost of the plan would be paid for by reducing the tax relief on pension contributions for people earning more than £150,000 per annum.