IHT 'generous' to small businesses

Solicitors in Belfast and Northern Ireland are often asked to write up wills for small business owners indicating that the family firm will be left to another member.

As solicitors will know, currently Inheritance Tax laws (IHT) covering Belfast and Northern Ireland mean that small businesses can normally be passed down through families for free when the original owners die.

This arrangement is extremely advantageous for smaller businesses as they are less likely to be sold off and more likely to continue in the family's hands and experts have said that the latest Budget is unlikely to change this.

Vice president of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), Andrew Hubbard, said: "Of course, lots of small businesses don't sell because they just pass through the generations.

"Currently we still have the fairly generous Inheritance Tax provisions, where you can pass it down a generation free of charge. I think we would all be very surprised to see any changes there."

However, this does not mean that businesses in Belfast and Northern Ireland should not visit their solicitors or accountants to ensure all tax that is due has been paid.

Mr Hubbard warned: "[The Chancellor] has had a big push at non-doms in the last few months, so if you're a non-domiciled small business owner then potentially you need to look at your structures quite carefully."

The Budget 2008 announcement will be taking place on March 12th.

Contact us for legal advice