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11 December 2015 0 Comments
Posted in Opinion

Anger over Inheritance Tax crosses the political divide

Author headshot image Posted by , Partner

Criticism of Inheritance Tax (IHT) is admittedly nothing new, but intriguing new research suggests that the current system has far more opponents than has previously been appreciated.

Research by the Fabian Society, a major left-wing think tank, has dispelled claims that most of the antipathy directed at the tax comes from Conservatives.

In actual fact, a series of focus groups has found that Labour and Lib Dem voters also have major reservations about the levy.

The Fabian Society believes that the general consensus across the political spectrum (that Inheritance Tax is “insensitive and unfair”) is proof that the current arrangements are unsustainable in the long term.

Speaking to the Guardian, the think tank’s general secretary Andrew Harrop admitted that it came as a surprise just how unpopular the tax was among voters of various political persuasions.

“The public see the value of the tax system, and they want it to be fairer, simpler and more progressive,” he said.

“But some taxes are now beyond the pale, even for people who are supportive of progressive measures. Inheritance Tax is seen as unfair and insensitive even by left-leaning voters, and has become too toxic to save.”

Chancellor George Osborne recently agreed to increase the threshold of the nil-rate band, although Mr Harrop believes that more fundamental changes are required.

Commenting on the responses from the focus groups, he said: “Their arguments were striking, emotive and mostly unequivocal. These discussions were excellent examples of how people are able to hold fundamentally contradictory views simultaneously.

“People believe that wealth should be taxed and inequalities of wealth reduced, but inherited wealth should not be touched.”

For advice on Inheritance Tax planning, please contact Tony Millson or Deanna Hurst  in Royds’ Private Client team.

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