Few would have anticipated only a few weeks ago that by March 2020 a large part of the world, including the United Kingdom, would be or have been in virtual lockdown, with many planes grounded and borders closed. However, that is the result of the spread of COVID-19. Along with the numerous health considerations, there are also a number of tax consequences for individuals with connections in more than one jurisdiction, as well as for those based in the United Kingdom.
There is much discussion of 'digital assets' these days but, when it comes to inheritance, there is no statutory definition of the term. It tends to mean things held otherwise than in a tangible sense, including emails, photos and social media accounts. When a person dies, their tangible assets pass to their executors or administrators and are distributed in accordance with their will. Unfortunately, this is not always the case with digital assets.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Inheritance and Intergenerational Fairness has published a paper proposing a complete overhaul of the existing UK inheritance tax rules. The paper makes thought-provoking suggestions, and it will be interesting to see whether any of the group's ideas appear in government policy or lead to a consultation in the future.
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs has a marvellous ability to confound expectations. In the latest plot twist, it updated its Cryptoassets: Tax for Individuals guidance to include a section on the situs of cryptoassets, which is a bold departure from established principles.
In its 2019 report, Arts Council England revealed that in the past financial year, objects with an agreed value of nearly £60 million have been given to UK museums and galleries in lieu of tax. This record-breaking year serves as a reminder that cultural items continue to enter public ownership through acceptance in lieu and the cultural gifts scheme. Together with the conditional exemption scheme, tax reliefs for heritage property can provide significant tax saving opportunities.