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Proposals to abolish inheritance tax ‘must take into account risk of legacy income loss for charities’

With the current Inheritance Tax (IHT) framework offering generous incentives for legacy giving – a growing income stream for UK charities – Remember A Charity are calling on government and policymakers to consult with the sector and to ensure that legacy income will be protected. 

Over 50 MPs have called for IHT to be abolished, and Government is reported to be considering including the proposal in the Conservative manifesto.

Lucinda Frostick, director of Remember A Charity said that any change to IHT that “fails to consider the likely impact on legacy giving and just how vital this income stream is for UK charities” would be of “great concern to us at Remember A Charity”. She added:

“Legacy giving has become a lifeline for thousands of charities and community-based organisations, building resilience and long-term income that has proved crucial in the current economic climate.

As a representative body for 200 charities that rely on legacy income, we will be urging government and policymakers to consult with us and the wider sector to explore the likely impact on charities of proposed changes, ensuing that legacy income will be protected.”

Charitable gifts in Wills are currently exempt from IHT, charged at 40% above the IHT threshold. What’s more, those that donate 10% or more of their estate to charity benefit from a discounted IHT rate of 36%.

This can make a considerable reduction in the amount of tax paid per estate, enabling people to give generously, while also supporting their family and friends, said Remember a Charity.

Research from the Behavioural Insights Team indicates that even the simplest of charitable reference by solicitors during the will writing process doubles the chances that clients will leave a gift.

Having tracked charitable estate trends reported by solicitors and Will-writers since 2014, Remember a Charity can see a 50% increase (from 16%-24%) in the proportion of professionally written Wills that include a charitable donation.

IHT is a tax impacting fewer than 4% of deaths (27,000 in 2020/21), and yet, over one third (36%) of IHT estates include a charitable gift, with one in four of those charitable estates (2,590 in 2020/21) including donations of 10% or more, qualifying for the reduced IHT rate.

Remember A Charity is working with the Chartered Institute of Fundraising and fellow sector bodies to build up a body of evidence on the importance of the IHT incentive and to formulate a collaborative response to Government.

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