Business

Guildford is the inheritance tax 'capital' of the UK

Guildford High Street Image copyright Getty Images

The prosperous commuter belt town of Guildford in Surrey has been named as the inheritance tax capital of the UK.

As many as 658 families were subject to the tax in 2015/16, more than anywhere else in the country. On average they paid £231,000 each.

By contrast, just 31 estates in Wigan in Greater Manchester were sufficiently valuable to be liable for the tax.

The figures were revealed following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by Direct Line Insurance.

After Guildford, families living in South West London - including places like Chelsea and Wimbledon - were the next most likely to pay Inheritance Tax (IHT).

However the data also shows that the highest IHT bills were paid by families living in West London - including places like Kensington and Hammersmith.

On average those liable for IHT in this area paid over £390,000.

In order to pay Inheritance Tax (IHT) families have to pass on an estate worth at least £325,000. Married or civil partners who pass on their allowance are not liable unless their estate is worth £650,000 or more.

Since 2017 there has been an additional Transferable Main Residence Allowance (TMRA) which gives extra tax relief for those passing property to their descendants.

But campaigners have complained that the £325,000 allowance has been frozen since 2009, while house prices in London and the South East have soared.

The Office for Tax Simplification is looking at the issue, and is expected to report soon.

In the meantime, those with large IHT bills are being advised to seek professional help.

"If you are concerned about the amount of tax that may be payable on your estate when the time comes, you could seek independent advice and investigate transferring money to beneficiaries early as a gift, or placing assets into trust to reduce your liabilities," said Jane Morgan, business manager at Direct Line Insurance.

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