Chancellor ignores Step's appeals to rationalise personal taxation system

Kenneth Clarke has ignored the calls of trust lawyers to end inheritance tax iniquities and to institute relief on the costs of self assessment.

Lawyers and accountants represented by the Society of Trust and Estates Practitioners (Step) had asked the Chancellor to simplify capital gains and inheritance tax legislation and to correct an imbalance whereby people with large amounts of money tied up in businesses escape the inheritance tax that falls on owners of large houses.

Step also wanted tax payers to be able to claim relief on the costs of filling in their tax returns under the new self-assessment regime.

But Geoffrey Shindler, chairman of Step and Halliwell Landau trust partner, accused the Government of completely ignoring the issues. He said: “They took absolutely no notice whatsoever of our concerns. It seems they are pressing on with self-assessment.

“All the problems we envisaged are going to come out in due course. Individuals are going to have to cope with an enormous amount of paperwork, and some lay people who administer trusts will give up.”

Shindler added that the Government's increase in the inheritance tax threshold – from £200,000 to £215,000 – was insignificant.

“There are people with vast amounts of capital tied up in businesses not paying any inheritance tax. If you own a large house you end up paying a big sum. Nothing has been done to address that imbalance. With house prices taking off again, at best this will just maintain the status quo.”