Tax Implications of Gifting

Dafferns Wealth

Gifting is the act of giving money (or a ‘chattel’) to someone for nothing in return. It’s common for people to do this occasionally for family members, but there are specific tax rules to remember, especially concerning inheritance tax (IHT). Here are some key points to consider:

  • Annual Exemption: Each tax year, you can gift up to a certain amount without incurring any IHT. As of my last update, this amount was £3,000 per tax year. Unused annual exemptions can be carried forward for one year only.
  • Small Gifts: You can make small gifts of up to £250 to as many individuals as you like, and these gifts are exempt from IHT.
  • Wedding and Civil Partnership Gifts: You can give cash or gifts worth up to a certain amount without paying any IHT. The current limits are £5,000 for wedding gifts by a parent, £2,500 for wedding gifts by a grandparent or great-grandparent, and £1,000 for wedding gifts by any other person. For civil partnerships, the limits are the same as for weddings.
  • Gifts Out of Normal Expenditure: You can make gifts out of your normal income without incurring IHT, as long as you still have enough income left to maintain your usual lifestyle. If the gift would have a detrimental impact on your lifestyle it might not qualify as a gift.
  • Seven-Year Rule: If you make a gift and survive for at least seven years afterwards, it will not be counted towards your estate for IHT purposes. However, if you die within seven years of making the gift, it might still be subject to IHT.
  • Potentially Exempt Transfers (PETs): Gifts made during your lifetime that exceed the annual exemption and other allowances are known as Potentially Exempt Transfers. If you survive for seven years after making these gifts, they become exempt from IHT. However, if you die within the seven-year period, they may be subject to IHT on a sliding scale known as taper relief.
  • Exempt Beneficiaries: Some gifts to certain beneficiaries are exempt from IHT regardless of when they were made. For example, gifts to a spouse or civil partner who has a permanent UK domicile are generally exempt.

Gifting is really common and because it comes from the heart we often we do it without thinking about the tax consequences. We are always happy to advise where required.