Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt are reportedly finalising proposals to reduce inheritance tax in a strategic move aimed at revamping the United Kingdom’s tax system.
This initiative, emerging from extended periods of tempered public expectations, would see the current 40 per cent rate potentially decreased.
The Treasury’s analysis suggests such a cut would not fuel inflation, aligning with Hunt’s conditions for tax reductions amidst economic adjustments this season.
Significantly, Sunak has fulfilled a pledge to slash inflation by half within the current year, aligning with one of his five key objectives set earlier in January. This accomplishment has set a foundation for potential fiscal changes, including the inheritance tax rate cut.
This tax cut proposition has garnered support from Conservative backbenchers, who argue that tax reductions are vital for stimulating economic growth. Their fervent advocacy is such that some have even threatened to oppose the Autumn Statement should it not align with their vision for tax cuts.
While the final decision on the inheritance tax cut’s scale remains pending, discussions suggest an imminent announcement, possibly on November 22, could be coming. This timeline is subject to the upcoming Office of Budget Responsibility’s financial report, indicating the Treasury’s budgetary leeway.
Financial analysts from JP Morgan project that the Chancellor has a potential margin to enact tax cuts up to £10 billion. Such financial latitude allows Sunak to demonstrate a commitment to tax reduction, a move he describes as a result of prudent fiscal management during his tenure.
In the context of taxation, inheritance tax has been a point of contention, often criticised for being a redundant levy on income.
Inheritance tax currently applies to estate values exceeding the £325,000 threshold, with provisions allowing for an increased threshold of £500,000 under certain conditions such as property bequeathal to direct descendants.
A reduction of the tax rate by ten percentage points, while financially significant, is potentially feasible within the Chancellor’s budgetary framework while still adhering to the objective of reducing national debt within five years.
As the nation navigates through economic challenges with inflation rates falling to 4.6 per cent from a previous high of 10.7 per cent, Sunak maintains a focus on further reducing inflation to the target of 2 per cent.
This economic strategy is complemented by aspirations to lower taxes in congruence with economic recovery, a sentiment echoed by Sunak in response to parliamentary inquiries.
While a complete repeal of inheritance tax is not forecast for the immediate Autumn Statement, it remains a subject of consideration for the future.
Such fiscal changes are anticipated to attract criticism from opposition parties, with Labour historically opposing reductions in inheritance tax, which affected only 4 per cent of estates in 2021, according to HMRC data.
The Conservatives, however, may challenge Labour to state their position on any tax rate changes, potentially setting the stage for contentious political debate.
Our very own Autumn budget statement will be released after the Autumn budget on 22nd November.
The key areas of focus for the Chancellor reportedly include potential reforms to Individual Savings Accounts (ISA) and Inheritance Tax (IHT), alongside decisions on the immediate future of the State Pension Triple Lock and the National Living Wage.
This year’s statement also serves as a strategic platform to introduce popular measures anticipated in next year’s Spring Budget, which marks the final fiscal event before the general election.