Killing off the death tax...slowly

It’s fast approaching the first anniversary of the Conservative announcement to raise the inheritance tax (IHT) threshold to £1 million.  With near perfect timing the Telegraph has an article this morning saying the Conservatives will raise the IHT threshold to £2 million.


Under the policy proposals married individuals will be allowed to pass on £1 million at the time of death, meaning married couples can combine their £1 million limit into a collective £2 million.   


Statistics show that under the policy 9 million more would escape paying inheritance tax, which is fantastic news.


Coming from a position that wishes the outright abolition of inheritance tax, it’s clearly an advance from the Conservatives.  Yet still, the debate talks in terms of ‘allowances’ and limits as if we should be thankful the government are being generous enough to let us keep more of what we have already paid tax on.


Inheritance tax already takes in a pittance compared to other taxes.  Both parties are committed to raising the threshold, meaning the sum gained from IHT will continue to decline.  Therefore, perhaps the next step is abolition? 


If politics is getting from A to B in increments, then it’s feasible to suggest IHT will be abolished within the first term of a Conservative government.  It’s the path they’re walking.  We can understand – but not entirely accept – the gesture politics of IHT make it politically sensitive (if you’re not up for a fight) to tinker, rather than abolish, it. 


Yet with a tax that takes in next to nothing, resembling the remnants of a long-gone class war, we should abolish the tax and move onto cutting the other taxes that are hitting people the hardest.


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