January 2016 Questions & Answers

Q. What is our IHT position following a change of ownership?

In 2014, my partner and I changed the ownership status of our house from joint tenants to tenants-in-common. At that time, my share of the equity was reduced from 50% to 25% and my partner’s was, in turn, increased to 75%. Does this count as a lifetime gift for inheritance tax purposes (IHT)?

A. If you are married to you partner (spouse or civil partners), then the change will not count as a lifetime gift (a potentially exempt transfer (PET)) as it will be treated as an inter-spouse/civil partner transfer (assuming that your partner is domiciled in the UK). If, however, you are not married, the transfer will be treated as a PET, and you will need to live for seven years after the transfer date for it to be completely ignored for IHT purposes.

Q. CGT annual exemption and entrepreneurs’ relief. Can the annual capital gains tax (CGT) exemption be utilised against a capital gain that qualifies for entrepreneurs’ relief?

A Yes it can.

If your qualifying net gains exceed the lifetime limit applicable to the time you make that disposal, no further relief is due and the excess over that amount is wholly chargeable at the CGT rate (18% or 28% for disposals made on or after 23 June 2010). The annual exempt amount is allocated in the most beneficial way, so is set first against gains having the highest rate of CGT. If you make a subsequent business disposal in a later year which qualifies for entrepreneurs’ relief, the total relief (for all years) is still limited to your lifetime limit. Any gains exceeding that limit are wholly chargeable at the normal rate of CGT.

See the HMRC factsheet HS275 for further details (www.gov.uk/government/publications/entrepreneurs-relief-hs275-self-assessment-helpsheet/hs275-entrepreneurs-relief-2015).

Q. Can I claim for laundering my uniform? My employer provides me with a uniform that bears our company logo. I am required to maintain the uniform at my own expense without a contribution from my employer. Can I claim tax relief for the costs of keeping it clean?

A You may be entitled to a uniform tax allowance if your work requires you to wear a uniform that is provided by your employer and bears a company logo. Depending upon your employment, this could be anything from a polo shirt with the company’s logo on it, to a high-visibility jacket and overalls. If you are then required to maintain that uniform at your own expense without a contribution from your employer, you are likely to be entitled to the allowance.

Flat rate expenses for cleaning costs have been negotiated for operatives in particular industries (including shop workers wearing a branded uniform). You can find a full list of flat rate expenses on the HMRC website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/eimanual/EIM32712.htm. There are also separate flat rate expenses available for nurses and other health care workers.

The cost of clothing worn at work has been considered by the Courts on a number of occasions and in many cases they have ruled that the cost of work clothing is not incurred ‘wholly and exclusively in the performance’ of the taxpayer’s duties. In general terms, you will not be able to claim a clothing allowance for the cost of upkeep, replacement and repair of ordinary clothing, even if you only wear it for work.

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