While it is true that agricultural assets will often qualify for exemption and reliefs from inheritance tax, farmers and landowners cannot assume that assets can simply be passed on to the next generation tax-free. It is all too easy for farmers when passing assets down to the next generation or simply facilitating their own retirement to fall foul of the various conditions governing the availability of agricultural or business property relief.
With diminished returns from traditional agriculture, there is often a need to diversify activities to ensure adequate income and this can have a significant effect on capital taxation, particularly inheritance tax; failure to take account of this can cause long-term difficulties.
Most farmers and landowners will therefore need advice on how to pass assets on to the next generation in a tax-efficient way on death, retirement or sooner. This may require nothing more than an appropriately drafted Will, but can also involve setting up more complicated structures, depending on the farmer's personal circumstances and the degree to which he wishes to retain control or an income.
Working closely with our clients' other professional advisers, we can provide tailored advice to farmers and landowners on the mitigation of inheritance tax and the safe devolution of farming and other assets through:
- Lifetime gifts
- The use of trusts
- The use of Limited Liability Partnerships
- The use of companies
In the specialist areas of agricultural property relief and business property relief we are frequently asked to provide consultancy services in conjunction with members of our agriculture department. We can also advise on the use and impact of rollover, holdover and entrepreneur reliefs to reduce, postpone or eliminate Capital Gains Tax liabilities, and how to plan to shelter gains or reduce taxes on the sale of all types of asset including development land. Where appropriate we can also advise on the use of offshore structures to hold UK farms and shareholdings in UK businesses.