An Introduction to the Residential Nil Rate Band
By now you have probably heard about the Residential Nil Rate Band (RNRB), which has also been referred to as the Main Residence Nil Rate Band or simply ‘the family home allowance’. This new allowance was announced in the Summer 2015 Budget and will take effect from 6 April 2017.
The RNRB will be an additional allowance to the current nil rate band (NRB) which currently stands at £325,000 and will be frozen at this figure until the end of 2020 to 2021. The RNRB will be introduced in stages until it reaches the full amount of £175,000 after 6 April 2021. From this point onwards it will rise each year in line with the Consumer Prices Index. The new allowance will be phased in as follows:
- £100,000 for 2017 to 2018
- £125,000 for 2018 to 2019
- £150,000 for 2019 to 2020
- £175,000 for 2020 to 2021
This will mean that by 2020-21 married couples and civil partners may pass on up to £1 million worth of assets to their children and grandchildren free of inheritance tax.
The RNRB will be limited to only one residential property. If you own more than one property then your personal representatives will need to elect one qualifying property. To qualify for the allowance a property must currently be your main residence or have been used as your main residence at one point. The property that you own as a buy to let and have never used as your residence will not qualify for the RNRB.
A property must be “closely inherited” by Will or under the rules of intestacy. “Closely inherited” here means that the property must be inherited by your children, grandchildren or other direct lineal descendants. This also includes your step-children, adopted children, children of whom you have been appointed a guardian of, and also fostered children.
The RNRB will also be available where the property is left on trust where the lineal descendant is treated as the owner of the property for inheritance tax purposes (immediate post death interest trusts, disabled persons trust, bereaved minor or 18-25 trusts). The RNRB will not ordinarily be available where the property is left on discretionary trusts, even if all of the discretionary beneficiaries are direct descendants.
If the net value of your estate is over £2 million (the ‘taper threshold’) then the RNRB will be reduced by £1 for every £2 that the net value of your estate exceeds £2 million.
Finally, the RNRB may be transferred in the same manner as the NRB. On the death of a surviving spouse or civil partner their personal representatives may apply for any unused RNRB to be transferred.