Last year on these pages, in April, I relayed the intelligence that the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) had been commissioned to study our inheritance tax regime. All observers expected inheritance tax changes.

The scope of the OTS’s task was  constrained with such severity as to denude the reports and recommendations of this work of much of their potential. A cynic would have suggested the terms of the Office’s work were designed to prevent recommending profound inheritance tax changes. Such was my prediction at Easter of 2018. How desperately I wanted to be wrong. My wish turned to nought.

Those among us who have followed the news might have heard, above the current cacophony, that the OTS has submitted two reports.

Aside from the preamble, that our tax system was designed to defeat essential justice and sneer at the hardworking, the reports made several recommendations.

The principal conclusion is that inheritance tax has been – since just after the decimalisation of our currency – a tax not for the rich, but for the ill-prepared.

Many have sought my opinion on the OTS’s work. I’ve rendered it thus: Till there’s legislation to bring the recommendations to life, the work is just a waste of ink. Thus, you and I live with the current rules.

The OTS’s recommendations such as they are, are just that, recommendations.

Do you see the government acting on such advice anytime soon? Many might wish they’d act, nonetheless we must act as things are. We can’t act as we wish things were.

To plan on reducing the inheritance tax payable on your estate, contact me for a no obligation consultation.

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