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Inheritance tax - how much will I pay?

Learn about inheritance tax, how much you are likely to pay and the ways you can reduce the amount you owe.

In this article
Do I need to pay inheritance tax? Inheritance tax rules for married couples and civil partners
Inheritance tax rule changes

Do I need to pay inheritance tax?

If you're single and die during 2018-2019 with an estate worth more than £325,000 (including money, property and investments, but after deducting debts and expenses such as funeral costs), 40% tax will become due on anything above £325,000.

For example, if you leave behind an estate worth £500,000 the tax bill will be £70,000 (40% on £175,000 – the difference between £500,000 and £325,000).

However, if you're married or in a civil partnership, you may be able to leave more than this before paying tax. From April 2016, the threshold will be higher if your estate includes a family home that you leave to your children.

You can find out more in our guide: inheritance tax: thresholds, rates and who pays

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Inheritance tax rules for married couples and civil partners

Married couples and civil partners are allowed to pass their possessions and assets to each other tax-free and, since October 2007, the surviving partner is now allowed to use both tax-free allowances (providing one wasn’t used at the first death).

Where a full allowance remains, this effectively doubles the amount the surviving partner can leave behind tax-free without the need for special tax planning.

However, some people, whose partner died before 21 March 1972 will be caught by a loophole which means they don't get a 'double allowance'.

Find out more: inheritance tax for married couples and civil partners - this guide contains all the details you need to know about paying this tax.


Inheritance tax rule changes

In the 2015 Summer Budget, the chancellor George Osborne announced a new transferable main residence allowance, which will gradually increase each year until it hits £175,000 per person by 2020-21. For the 2018-19 tax year, it is £125,000.

This is in addition to the main nil-rate band. It will effectively raise the IHT-free allowance to £500,000 per person. Where married couples jointly own a family home and want to leave this to their children, the total IHT exemption will be £1m.

Find out more: Inheritance tax on property