Britain 'should follow French lead on IHT'

The Telegraph has advised the government to look across the channel when considering reforms to inheritance tax (IHT).

According to the newspaper, France has experienced a property boom similar to the UK, meaning that more and more properties fall under French IHT thresholds.

However, French president Nicolas Sarkozy has increased the allowance on a main residence by 30 per cent, bringing significant change in the way wealth tax is calculated to the benefit of the owner.

Such a move was praised by the Telegraph and the paper has called for prime minister Gordon Brown to implement a similar policy.

Whether Mr Brown will take immediate notice of the Telegraph’s appeal remains to be seen but in the meantime there is expert advice on hand from solicitors to help consumers reduce their inheritance tax bill.

Making a will is crucial in avoiding IHT as it will ensure an individual’s assets go where they are intended to go and any estate planning done is effective.

There are also a series of IHT exemptions that a legal specialist can help in explaining, including the use of gifts and allowances that would not be liable under the tax.

The current IHT threshold stands at £300,000, above which level all estates are taxed at a rate of 40 per cent.

In his last Budget as chancellor, Mr Brown committed to raising the threshold to £350,000 by 2010.