The 7-year rule
03/06/2021

Most gifts made during a person’s lifetime are not subject to Inheritance Tax at the time of the gift. These lifetime transfers are known as 'potentially exempt transfers' or 'PETs'.  These gifts or transfers achieve their potential of becoming exempt if the taxpayer survives for more than 7-years after making the gift. If the taxpayer dies within 3-years of making the gift, then the Inheritance Tax position is as if the gift was made on death. A tapered relief is available if death occurs between 3 and 7 years after the gift is made.

The rules surrounding PETs have resulted in many people wanting to make gifts long before they die. The problem in practice is that they do not want to give up control over the assets concerned.

The effective rates of tax on the excess over the nil rate band are:

  • 0 to 3 years before death            40%
  • 3 to 4 years before death            32%
  • 4 to 5 years before death            24%
  • 5 to 6 years before death            16%
  • 6 to 7 years before death              8%
  • 7 or more years before death        0%

These tapered rates cannot reduce the tax due on a lifetime chargeable transfer below the amount chargeable when the transfer was made and so are of no benefit to a transfer within the nil rate band.

We would strongly recommend that you keep a list of any PETs that you make. It is also important to keep a record of any exemptions that are used as well as details of any regular gifts made from surplus income.


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Bath Office
6 Gay Street
Bath
BA1 2PH
Tel: 01225 445196

Salisbury Office
Suite1, 24-25 Barnack Business Centre
Blakey Road
Salisbury
SP1 2LP

Email: enquiries@berkeleybate.co.uk

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Registered Name: Berkeley Bate Ltd Registered Company no: 7581153 Registered in the UK 
Registered Address: – Suite 1, 24-25 Barnack Business Centre, Blakey Road, Salisbury, SP1 2LP
VAT Registration No: 109 8958 67 16