What is Inheritance Tax & How Does It Work?

The beneficiaries of estates in the US that exceed an allowable value may be liable to pay Inheritance Tax. This tax is applied when assets go over a certain limit. How does Inheritance Tax work, how and when is it payable and can it be avoided? In all these matters specialty tax attorneys in Albany, New York can help you in the best possible way.

Basic Inheritance Tax Rules

If an individual dies and leaves assets in their estate, then these may be liable to Inheritance Tax charges. Generally, if assets exceed a certain allowance or threshold, then this tax may be payable on them by the beneficiaries of the estate.

While writing this article, tax year the Inheritance Tax limit is set at £325,000. The tax rate itself is 40%. Inheritance Tax is not charged on the entire value of the estate but on the sum that exceeds the limit. So, for example, if assets total £400,000 then the 40% tax is levied on £75,000.

How is Inheritance Tax Paid?

In many cases an Inheritance Tax bill will be paid from the estate itself by its executor or by trustees if a trust is involved. If a payment is liable based on gifts that the deceased left to other individuals (known as “donees”) within seven years before their death, then the individuals will themselves be liable to pay for any tax that is due.

When does Inheritance Tax Need to be paid?

Inheritance Tax payments generally need to be paid six months after the end of the month in which the individual died. This applies to general estates and to gifts. The law regarding trust taxation is slightly different and more complicated. Here, payments may become due when transfers are made into and out of the trust and every ten years depending on individual circumstances.

In certain cases, some payments may be made on an installment basis over a ten year period. This may, for example, apply if an estate includes certain assets such as a property or some types of stocks and shares. Here, the tax payment is split into yearly installments although the first payment will be due on the standard six-month basis. Interest may also be charged in some cases if this solution is used.

Is Inheritance Tax Avoidance a Good Idea?

Not paying Inheritance Tax when it is due will lead to interest being charged on the account until payment is made. Penalty charges may also be levied if an account is not filed within 12 months from the end of the month when the individual died. Avoiding paying Inheritance Tax is against the law and is not advisable.

Inheritance Tax planners and lawyers can, however, help some individuals to manage their money to legally make the most of allowances and exemptions if they can be applied to an estate. This may help some avoid paying more Inheritance Tax than they need to. This form of mitigation generally needs advice and help from a qualified specialist to ensure that all legal requirements are met.