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Guildford in Surrey Named Inheritance Tax Capital of UK

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Following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by Direct Line Insurance, Guildford in Surrey was dubbed the Inheritance Tax capital of the UK after it was revealed that as many as 658 families from the town southwest of London were subject to the tax between 2015 and 2016. On average, each family are said to have paid £231,000 (a total of just under £152 million), more than anywhere else in the country.

In order for a household to apply to pay Inheritance Tax (IHT), the value of their estate needs to be calculated as being worth a minimum of £325,000; married couples and civil partners are only liable to IHT if their estate is worth a combined amount of £650,000.

Other areas where families pay more IHT include Southwest London, Brighton, Kingston Upon Thames, Reading, and Bristol. The data also showed that families in Kensington and Hammersmith were amongst the highest billed with an average of £390,000. In contrast, the lowest charged in the country were in Watford, Dundee, Inverness, Western Central London, Motherwell, and Wigan where only 31 estates were liable for IHT.

In 2017 an additional Transferable Main Residence Allowance (TMRA) was introduced. However, campaigners believe that the £325,000 threshold has remained frozen since 2009 while property prices have continued to rise in London and the South East, an issue currently being investigated by the Office for Tax Implication.

Jane Morgan, business manager at Direct Line, has advised that those concerned about large IHT bills should seek professional assistance.

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