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Inheritance Tax: Life Assurance and Annuities, Form IHT410

Updated: May 27

Inheritance tax (IHT) in the UK is a tax on the estate (the property, money, and possessions) of someone who has died. When planning for inheritance tax, it's crucial to understand how life assurance policies and annuities can affect the tax payable on an estate, as well as the importance of completing Form IHT410.

Inheritance Tax: Life Assurance and Annuities, Form IHT410

Life Assurance and Annuities: Impact on Inheritance Tax

Life assurance and annuities play a significant role in inheritance tax planning. These financial instruments can be designed to provide a lump sum or income after the policyholder's death, which can be used to cover potential inheritance tax bills. The UK Government's Form IHT410 is specifically used alongside Form IHT400 to provide details about any life insurance policies, annuities, or investment bonds that the deceased had made payments on, regardless of whether these were on the deceased's life or someone else's, or whether the policies were for the deceased's benefit.

Understanding the specifics of how these instruments interact with inheritance tax laws is crucial. For instance, certain policies may be written in trust, meaning they might not form part of the estate for inheritance tax purposes, offering a way to mitigate the tax due.

Form IHT410: A Closer Look

Form IHT410 is a critical document for reporting life assurance policies and annuities in the context of inheritance tax. It gathers information about any policies the deceased had, which can include policies taken out on their own life or on the life of another, intended to pay out upon the policyholder's death. This information helps determine the overall value of the deceased's estate and, subsequently, the amount of inheritance tax that may be due.

Whole of Life Cover and Gift Inter Vivos Policies

Whole of life cover policies are often used in inheritance tax planning. They provide a sum that can cover the estimated inheritance tax bill, ensuring that beneficiaries are not left with a financial burden. The premiums for such policies can vary significantly, based on the level of cover chosen.

Gift inter vivos policies are another planning tool specifically designed to cover the inheritance tax liability on gifts made during the policyholder's lifetime. These gifts, if not exempt, could potentially be subject to inheritance tax if the donor dies within seven years of making the gift. The policy amount decreases over time, reflecting the decreasing potential tax liability due to taper relief, which reduces the inheritance tax rate on gifts made between 3 and 7 years before the donor's death.

Inheritance Tax Insurance: Do You Need It?

Deciding whether you need inheritance tax insurance depends on the size of your estate and your plans for it. If your estate exceeds the nil-rate band (the amount up to which an estate has no inheritance tax to pay, currently £325,000 for an individual), considering life insurance or an annuity that can cover the potential tax bill might be wise. This is especially pertinent if you intend to make significant gifts that could be subject to inheritance tax if you die within seven years of making them.

Inheritance tax planning is a complex area that requires careful consideration of various financial products, including life assurance and annuities. Form IHT410 is a key document in this process, helping to ensure that all relevant policies are accounted for when assessing the estate's value for tax purposes. Whether you need inheritance tax insurance depends on your individual circumstances, but for many, it represents a prudent approach to safeguarding the value of their estate for their beneficiaries.

How to Complete Form IHT410 - A Step by Step Guide

Form IHT410 is a crucial document for reporting life assurance policies and annuities on the estate of a deceased individual. Completing it accurately is vital for the executor or administrator of an estate to ensure that the correct Inheritance Tax is paid. This guide will walk you through each section and question of the form, providing examples to help clarify the process.

When to Use Form IHT410

This form is required when the deceased had been paying into life assurance policies or if sums are payable by insurance companies to the estate as a result of the deceased’s death. This includes policies on the deceased's life or someone else’s, whether they were for the deceased's benefit, and certain investment bonds. However, it's not used for pension annuities, which require Form IHT409.

Section by Section Guide

  1. Life Assurance Policies: Initially, determine if any sums were payable by insurance companies due to the deceased’s death. If yes, you'll need to detail the insurance companies, policy numbers, and amounts payable.

  2. Mortgage Protection Policies: If the deceased had a mortgage protection policy, how you include this information depends on whether the property was owned solely or jointly.

  3. Jointly Owned Assurance Policies: Identify if the deceased was insured under a policy that continues after their death. These details are not included on this form but on Form IHT404.

  4. Life Assurance on Another Person's Life: If the deceased was entitled to benefit from a policy on someone else's life that continues post-death, details of these policies are necessary.

  5. Purchased Life Annuities: Provide details on any annuities, focusing on payments that continue after the deceased's death, including the company name, payment frequency, and total value.

  6. Lump Sum Payments: If a lump sum was payable under an annuity due to the deceased's death, include the company name and the lump sum's value.

  7. Premium Payments: Address whether within the last seven years, the deceased paid any premium on a life assurance policy for someone else’s benefit. Details for this section go on Form IHT403.

  8. Annuities Purchased: Indicate if the deceased had purchased any annuities, providing a copy of the policy schedule.

  9. Trust-held Policies: Lastly, if the deceased had a right to benefit from a life assurance policy held in trust, this requires completing Form IHT418.

Examples and Tips

  • Life Assurance Policies: For example, if the deceased had a life insurance policy with "Insurance Company A" with a policy number XYZ123 and an amount payable of £10,000, you would list these details accordingly.

  • Mortgage Protection Policies: In the case of a mortgage protection policy, remember to treat the property, mortgage, and policy as separate items, depending on ownership status.

  • Jointly Owned Assurance Policies: If there was a joint policy that does not end with the deceased's death, remember, this information goes on a different form (IHT404).

  • Purchased Life Annuities: For annuities, you might detail "Annuity Company B," with monthly repayments and note any increases during the guaranteed period.

  • Lump Sum Payments: If a lump sum was due, detail the policy provider and the sum, for instance, "Annuity Company C," with a lump sum payable of £5,000.

Completing Form IHT410 requires careful attention to the details of the deceased's financial products. By following this step-by-step guide and providing thorough, accurate information, you can ensure that the estate's financial affairs are correctly reported to HMRC, facilitating a smoother process in what can be a challenging time.

Current Inheritance Tax Thresholds

The IHT threshold, or nil-rate band, has remained constant at £325,000 since April 2009. This means that estates valued below this amount are not subject to IHT. For estates valued above this threshold, the standard IHT rate is 40%, charged only on the portion of the estate exceeding £325,000. There's an exception when estates are bequeathed to a spouse, civil partner, charity, or community amateur sports club, in which case they might not be subject to IHT regardless of their value.

Additionally, the Residence Nil-Rate Band (RNRB), introduced in April 2017, provides an extra threshold of £175,000 when a residence is passed on to direct descendants. This can potentially raise the IHT-free threshold to £500,000 for individuals.

Planning Strategies for Inheritance Tax

Effective IHT planning is crucial for minimizing the tax burden on an estate. Here are some strategies highlighted:

  • Gifting Assets: Gifting assets or money during one's lifetime can reduce the value of the estate subject to IHT, keeping in mind the seven-year rule for potential exemption from IHT.

  • Trusts: Establishing trusts can be an efficient method to manage and safeguard assets, potentially reducing IHT liabilities. Trusts can be complex, and professional advice is vital to ensure they meet your financial goals.

  • Life Insurance Policies: Life insurance policies, when written in trust, can offer a lump sum that falls outside of the estate for IHT purposes. This can be instrumental in covering any IHT due without depleting estate assets.

  • Business Relief: Owners of businesses can benefit from Business Relief, which can significantly reduce IHT on business assets, offering relief from 50% to 100%.

  • Charitable Donations: Bequests to charities are exempt from IHT, and donating at least 10% of the net estate to charity can reduce the IHT rate on the remainder of the estate from 40% to 36%.

Navigating the complexities of IHT requires a thorough understanding of the current thresholds, exemptions, and planning strategies. By leveraging gifting, trusts, life insurance, business relief, and charitable donations, individuals can significantly reduce the IHT liability of their estates.

As the tax landscape evolves, staying informed and seeking professional advice are key to effective IHT planning. The insights provided here, based on the latest information for the 2024-25 tax year, aim to assist UK residents in making informed decisions about their estate planning. For personalized advice, consulting with financial or tax experts, such as those at GM Professional Accountants, can provide tailored solutions to meet your specific needs and objectives​​​​.

Latest Inheritance Tax Reliefs and Exemptions

Understanding the variety of reliefs and exemptions can significantly impact the amount of inheritance tax (IHT) payable. Here are some key areas where taxpayers can benefit:

  • Spouse Exemption: Transfers between UK-domiciled spouses or civil partners are exempt from IHT. However, if the recipient spouse is non-UK domiciled, the exemption limit is £325,000​​.

  • Gifts to Charities: Gifts to UK-registered charities, whether made during the taxpayer's lifetime or upon death, are exempt from IHT. If at least 10% of the estate's net value is left to charity, the IHT rate on the remaining estate reduces to 36%​​​.

  • Annual Exemption: Individuals can make gifts up to £3,000 each tax year without attracting IHT, which can be carried over to the next year if unused, allowing for a potential £6,000 gift without IHT implications​​.

  • Small Gifts: Up to £250 per person per tax year can be given to an unlimited number of recipients without being subject to IHT.

  • Normal Expenditure from Income: Regular gifts made out of income that do not affect the donor's standard of living can be exempt from IHT. These include payments for school fees or life policy premiums for someone else's benefit​​.

  • Business Property Relief: Offers relief from IHT on transfers of business property, which could range from 50% to 100% relief, depending on the asset type. The property must have been owned for at least two years prior to the transfer​​​.

  • Gifts in Consideration of Marriage: Gifts given in consideration of marriage or civil partnership can receive specific exemptions, depending on the relationship to the recipient.

  • Quick Succession Relief: This relief applies when an individual inherits assets and dies within five years, potentially reducing the IHT liability based on the time between the two deaths.

Navigating the complexities of IHT requires careful planning and an understanding of the available reliefs and exemptions. By leveraging strategies such as gifting, charitable donations, and taking advantage of reliefs on business property and spousal transfers, individuals can significantly reduce the IHT liability of their estates.

As the tax landscape continues to evolve, staying informed and consulting with financial or tax experts is crucial. The insights provided here, based on information for the 2024 tax year, aim to assist UK residents in making informed decisions about their estate planning. Remember, each financial situation is unique, and personalized advice from professionals is invaluable in optimizing your tax strategy.

Case Study: Utilizing Form IHT410 for Life Assurance and Annuities

This case study explores the process undertaken by a hypothetical individual, Oliver Thompson, in the UK, using Form IHT410 to handle life assurance and annuities for his late father's estate.


Oliver's father had multiple life assurance policies and annuities set up to support his family and contribute towards estate planning. Upon his death, these financial instruments needed to be appropriately assessed for their impact on the inheritance tax liabilities of the estate.

Steps for Using Form IHT410

Gathering Information

Oliver began by collecting all relevant documents related to the life assurance policies and annuities. This included policy numbers, the sum assured, the name of the life assurance company, and any other details about payments or beneficiaries.

Completing Form IHT410

Using the information collected, Oliver filled out Form IHT410, which is specifically designed to detail life assurance and annuities in the context of inheritance tax. This form accompanies Form IHT400, the main inheritance tax form.

Inheritance Tax Calculations

For each policy, Oliver needed to determine if the policy was written in trust or if the proceeds would form part of the estate. Policies not in trust are included in the estate's valuation for inheritance tax purposes. He calculated the potential tax impact based on the total value of the policies that contributed to the estate's worth.

Assuming Oliver’s father’s estate includes life assurance policies totaling £200,000 in value:

  • If these policies were written in trust, they wouldn’t be considered part of the taxable estate. Thus, they would not impact the IHT calculation directly.

  • If not written in trust, they would be added to the estate's total value. Assuming the estate’s other assets sum up to £300,000, the total taxable estate would then be £500,000.

With the 2020/2021 IHT threshold at £325,000, the taxable amount would be £175,000 (£500,000 minus £325,000). At an IHT rate of 40%, the tax due on the life assurance alone, if applicable, would be calculated as 40% of the excess over the threshold, which in this case would be £70,000 (40% of £175,000).

Submission and Follow-Up

After completing the form, Oliver submitted it along with Form IHT400 to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). He also prepared for potential queries from HMRC regarding the policies, ensuring all data provided was accurate and verifiable.

Form IHT410 played a crucial role in ensuring that all life assurance policies and annuities were accounted for in the inheritance tax assessment of Oliver's father's estate. Proper completion of this form helped Oliver manage the inheritance tax implications effectively, ensuring that all financial benefits from the policies were correctly allocated either to the beneficiaries or towards settling the estate's tax liabilities.

This case study demonstrates the importance of detailed documentation and accurate form completion in managing the inheritance tax obligations for life assurance and annuities in the UK. It highlights the steps an individual must take to comply with inheritance tax requirements while maximizing the financial benefits for the estate's beneficiaries.

Getting Professional Help for Inheritance Tax Management

Getting Professional Help for Inheritance Tax Management

Navigating the complexities of Inheritance Tax (IHT) in the UK can be daunting, given its potential implications on your estate and the financial well-being of your beneficiaries. As IHT planning encompasses various aspects, including property, family wealth, probate, and trusts, seeking professional advice is often recommended to ensure a holistic and effective strategy. This approach not only helps protect your assets but also ensures that your wealth is passed on according to your wishes, minimizing the tax burden on your beneficiaries.

The Importance of Professional Inheritance Tax Management

  1. Complexity of Legislation: IHT legislation is intricate and constantly evolving. Professionals stay abreast of the latest changes, ensuring that planning strategies are compliant and optimized based on current laws.

  2. Maximizing Allowances and Reliefs: Experts can help identify and apply for various reliefs and exemptions, such as the Nil-Rate Band, Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB), and Business Relief, potentially saving significant amounts in taxes. The RNRB, for instance, allows an additional allowance when passing on your main residence to direct descendants, subject to certain conditions.

  3. Holistic Financial Planning: Inheritance tax planning is not an isolated task; it intersects with other areas of taxation and financial planning. Professionals offer a comprehensive approach, considering your overall financial situation, goals, and family circumstances. This includes advice on wills, lifetime gifts, potentially exempt transfers (PETs), and the use of trusts to manage and transfer assets efficiently.

  4. Avoiding Common Pitfalls: Without proper guidance, many individuals make decisions that could inadvertently increase their IHT liability. Professionals can provide tailored advice to avoid such pitfalls, ensuring that gifts, trusts, and asset transfers are executed in a tax-efficient manner.

  5. Estate and Trust Management: Setting up and managing trusts, as well as handling estate administration, can be complex. Tax professionals and estate planners can assist with these tasks, ensuring compliance and the smooth transfer of assets to your beneficiaries.

  6. Appealing Decisions and Liaising with HMRC: Should there be any disputes or inquiries from HMRC regarding your IHT return, having a professional by your side can be invaluable. They can handle communications, appeals, and negotiations on your behalf, backed by an in-depth understanding of tax laws and precedents.

When to Seek Professional Advice

  • High-value Estates: If your estate exceeds the IHT threshold (currently £325,000 for individuals), professional advice can help you navigate the potential tax implications more effectively.

  • Business Owners: For those owning or having shares in a business, Business Relief could significantly reduce IHT liability. Professional advice is crucial to understand and apply for such reliefs accurately.

  • Complex Family Situations: Non-traditional family structures, non-domiciled spouses, or intentions to benefit someone outside the immediate family might require sophisticated planning to optimize tax liabilities.

  • International Elements: If your estate includes assets outside the UK or you have beneficiaries living abroad, international tax laws may complicate your IHT planning.

Given the complexities and potential financial implications involved, seeking professional advice for Inheritance Tax management in the UK is often a prudent decision. It not only helps in optimizing your tax liability but also ensures that your estate planning aligns with your personal wishes and financial goals. Professionals provide the expertise to navigate the intricacies of tax laws, maximize allowances and reliefs, and avoid common pitfalls, ultimately ensuring that your legacy is protected and passed on according to your wishes.


1. What is Form IHT410?

A: Form IHT410 is a document used in the UK to report life insurance policies, annuities, or investment bonds that the deceased had, as part of the Inheritance Tax (IHT) assessment process.

2. When do I need to complete Form IHT410?

A: You need to complete Form IHT410 as part of the IHT return when the deceased had life insurance policies, annuities, or investment bonds.

3. Who is responsible for completing Form IHT410?

A: The executor or administrator of the estate is responsible for completing and submitting Form IHT410 to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

4. Is Form IHT410 required for all estates?

A: No, Form IHT410 is only required if the deceased had life insurance policies, annuities, or investment bonds that need to be reported for IHT purposes.

5. Can life insurance policies affect the amount of Inheritance Tax due?

A: Yes, life insurance policies can affect the IHT calculation, especially if the policy is not written in trust and thus forms part of the estate.

6. What is the Residence Nil-Rate Band (RNRB), and how does it relate to Form IHT410?

A: The RNRB is an additional threshold available when a residence is passed on to direct descendants. While not directly related to Form IHT410, it's part of the wider IHT calculation process.

7. How does a gift inter vivos policy impact Inheritance Tax?

A: A gift inter vivos policy can provide insurance cover for IHT due on gifts made by the deceased during their lifetime if they die within seven years of making the gift.

8. Are annuities included in the estate for IHT purposes?

A: Yes, annuities bought by the deceased can be included in the estate for IHT purposes, and details should be reported on Form IHT410.

9. What happens if I don't submit Form IHT410?

A: Failing to submit Form IHT410 when required can result in an incomplete IHT return, potentially leading to penalties and interest charges from HMRC.

10. Can IHT be reduced if the deceased made regular gifts out of their income?

A: Yes, regular gifts made out of surplus income can be exempt from IHT, provided they meet certain conditions related to the donor's standard of living and the regularity of the gifts.

11. What reliefs are available for businesses on Form IHT410?

A: Business Relief can significantly reduce the value of a business or share of a business included in the estate for IHT purposes.

12. How does spousal exemption affect IHT reporting on Form IHT410?

A: Transfers between spouses or civil partners are usually exempt from IHT, affecting the overall tax calculation rather than the specific completion of Form IHT410.

13. How does the seven-year rule for gifts impact Form IHT410?

A: The seven-year rule for gifts affects the IHT calculation if the deceased made gifts within seven years of their death, but specific details of such gifts are not reported on Form IHT410.

14. What documentation is needed to complete Form IHT410?

A: You'll need documentation relating to any life insurance policies, annuities, or investment bonds the deceased had, including policy numbers and the value at the time of death.

15. How do charitable donations affect IHT as reported on Form IHT410?

A: Charitable donations can reduce the IHT bill if at least 10% of the estate is left to charity, impacting the overall IHT calculation rather than the completion of Form IHT410 specifically.

16. Can overseas assets be reported on Form IHT410?

A: Form IHT410 is primarily for reporting life insurance, annuities, or investment bonds, regardless of whether these assets are in the UK or overseas.

17. What is taper relief, and does it relate to Form IHT410?

A: Taper relief can reduce the IHT on gifts made 3-7 years before death. It's part of the wider IHT calculation and not specific to Form IHT410.

18. How do I submit Form IHT410 to HMRC?

A: Form IHT410 can be submitted to HMRC as part of the estate's IHT return, either by post or, in some cases, online through the HMRC website.

19. Are there penalties for inaccurately completing Form IHT410?

A: Yes, inaccuracies can lead to penalties and additional tax charges, so it's important to complete Form IHT410 accurately and truthfully.

20. Where can I find more information or assistance with completing Form IHT410?

A: For more assistance, you can visitFor more assistance, you can visit the HMRC website or consult with a tax professional. HMRC provides detailed guidance and resources for completing and submitting IHT forms, including Form IHT410. Additionally, consulting with a tax advisor or estate planning professional can provide personalized advice and ensure that the form is completed accurately, considering the specific circumstances of the deceased's estate.

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