The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has issued its first report in its national review of Inheritance Tax, in which it references the tax as ‘unpopular’ and ‘complicated’, and recommends the implementation of a digital system to simplify the administration of estates.
The report, published on 23 November, has been welcomed by Remember A Charity. It suggest that Government should implement a fully integrated digital system for Inheritance Tax and probate applications, and also observes that ‘regulating the will writing market would help improve the administration process.’
Gifts in wills contribute the largest single source of voluntary income to the charity sector, generating around £3 billion a year. They are currently exempt from Inheritance Tax (charged at 40%), and those that donate over 10% of their estate to charity benefit from a discounted rate of 36% across the remaining value of their estate.
Remember A Charity recently disclosed that, together with the Institute of Fundraising and supported by ACEVO, NCVO, ILM and STEP, it had written to government calling for a discount or exemption on probate fees for charitable wills.
Commenting on the report, Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity, said:
“Legacy giving is becoming more commonplace and, with an increase in the number of estates liable to Inheritance Tax, it is critical that any changes protect the market and continue to enable and inspire the public to support the good causes they care about.
“Ultimately, a more straight-forward Inheritance Tax system should make it easier for people’s estates to be handled promptly, efficiently and for relevant discounts or exemptions on charitable wills to be applied. We welcome steps to reduce the administrative burden for everyone; the public, professional advisers and executors, which of course includes many charities too.
“With both the national Inheritance Tax structure and will-writing framework currently under review, the devil will be in the detail of future announcements as to whether the fiscal incentives will be maintained and how will-writing processes may evolve. We continue to appeal to government representatives to ensure that any changes will continue to encourage and promote charitable legacies.”
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