Inheritance tax on overseas property representing UK residential property

Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:30 pm ar 19 Hydref 2017.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

With this it will be convenient to consider that schedule 10 be the Tenth schedule to the Bill.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

Clause 33 and schedule 10 introduce the final element of this historic package of non-dom reforms. As with the clauses that we have just discussed, it was our intention to include these provisions in the previous Finance Bill, and we are pleased to be able to introduce the changes from April 2017 as we originally intended. The changes will ensure that non-domiciled individuals who hold UK residential property through an overseas structure are liable for inheritance tax on that property, in the same way as UK residents.

The basic inheritance tax position is that a non-UK-domiciled individual is liable for UK inheritance tax only on the property in their estate that is situated in the UK. That has been the case since inheritance tax was first introduced.

However, it has long been fairly common practice for some individuals to take deliberate steps to avoid tax on homes they hold in the United Kingdom. Instead of owning UK residential properties directly in their own names, they set up an overseas company or partnership that has legal ownership of the property. They will often use overseas trusts as part of those structures. The effect of doing so is that the non-domiciled individual is no longer a UK homeowner; instead they own shares in an overseas company or an interest in an overseas partnership. In other words, by changing the structure of the way they hold UK assets—UK property is transformed into overseas property—they are no longer subject to UK inheritance tax.

The Government do not believe it is fair that non-doms with residential property in the UK can avoid paying UK inheritance tax in that way. That is why we are making changes to ensure that, from now on, they will pay the same tax as everybody else. The changes made by clause 33 and schedule 10 will ensure that individuals domiciled overseas pay inheritance tax on UK residential properties they hold through overseas structures. They will do so by looking through the overseas structures to the underlying UK property, bringing any share or interest into the scope of inheritance tax, even if those shares are overseas. In other words, the clause will ensure that an inheritance tax charge will arise wherever the value of such structures is derived from a residential property in the UK.

The clause closes a long-standing loophole that has allowed non-domiciled individuals to structure their assets to avoid inheritance tax on their UK homes. This change will ensure that non-dom individuals with residential property in the United Kingdom are treated the same way as everyone else, raising an estimated £250 million over the next four years.

Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Labour/Co-operative, Walthamstow

Having heard the Minister make a compelling case about the importance of ensuring that non-doms do not avoid paying tax, I look forward to the debate that we will have on new clause 2, which raises exactly the same issues about the treatment of commercial property as a way for non-doms to avoid residential property taxes. I look forward to the Minister supporting the new clause accordingly.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

Like the hon. Lady, I cannot wait to get to the matter at hand.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 33 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 10 agreed to.

Clause 34