In Brief

Budget 2015: will inheritance tax change today?

Rumours abound that the Chancellor is about to relax the rules on inheritance tax, but the change may not come immediately

As George Osborne puts the finishing touches to a Budget that he hopes will keep him and his party in government, commentators are weighing up the chances that he will announce a major change to inheritance tax.

Leaked Treasury documents suggest that the Chancellor is planning to let parents give their children a home worth up to £1 million without paying any inheritance tax.

According to The Guardian, Osborne proposed the plan before last year's Autumn statement, but it was blocked by the Liberal Democrats.

The paper says the measure would be "aimed primarily at southern propertied middle-class households" and would cost the Treasure nearly £1 billion.

The price is unlikely to be a sticking point, analysts say, but the politics could prove difficult.

"Reforming inheritance tax wouldn't cost much, since hardly anyone actually pays it," says Jonathan Eley at the Financial Times. "The question is whether the Liberal Democrats would countenance it – especially since it's unlikely they'd get any electoral credit."

In December Osborne surprised many observers with sweeping changes to stamp duty, and a substantial change to inheritance tax would grab headlines in the same way.

However, The Guardian says that Osborne will not announce inheritance tax changes during the Budget. Instead it will be produced "within the next fortnight as one of its central election crowd pleasers". 

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