Inheritance tax (IHT) receipts for April 2022 to February 2023 were £6.4bn, which is an increase of £0.9bn compared to the same period last year, latest government data showed.

Statistics from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) revealed February 2023 receipts totalled £531m meaning the tax take for 2022/23 to date stands at £6.4bn.

This figure already beats the £6.1bn received by the Treasury throughout the entire 2021/22 financial year by £353m, provider Just said.

It comes after last week's revision by the Office for Budget Responsibility which projected future IHT with estimates that between 2022/23 and 2027/28, the Treasury would net almost £3bn more than previously forecast.

Just said the projected total IHT tax take by 2027/2028 sits at £45bn, compared to the previous estimates of £42.1bn. It added that by 2027/28, it is estimated that 6.7% of deaths, or about 47,000 deaths, would trigger an IHT charge, up from an estimated 4.1% in 2020/21.

‘Pincer movement'

Just Group communications director Stephen Lowe said: "The Chancellor is benefitting from the pincer movement of recent rises in property prices and frozen thresholds. IHT is an increasingly valuable source of income for the government which has raked in a record sum even with one month of this tax year's receipts yet to be collected.

"The Treasury appears to be banking on ever greater receipts from IHT. Buried in the small print of the Spring Budget was confirmation that the government expects to scoop up nearly an extra £3bn from IHT over the next six years."

He added: "With an ever-growing proportion of estates likely to become liable to paying IHT, it is increasingly important that people are regularly assessing the value of their estates. This should include getting an up-to-date valuation of any owned property given the substantial house price increases generated through the pandemic. 

"Professional, regulated advice can also help people work out the total value of their estate, calculate how much tax they may be likely to owe and understand what options they have to manage that tax bill." 

Canada Life technical director Andrew Tully said: "As suspected, IHT revenue has already broken last year's record of £6.1bn.

"The receipts show that IHT is up by 16%, year on year. If we continue on this upward trajectory then it will surpass last year's intake by more than 10%."

He echoed the warning from the OBR that IHT tax take would only increase in coming years.

"IHT continues to be a profitable pot of money for the Treasury, but if you plan far enough in advance, there are ways to reduce it such as setting up a trust, making use of gift allowances, and potentially passing on your pension as part of your estate, very tax efficiently," he said.

"The tax-free allowance is £325,000, so if you suspect your estate might be worth more than this, make sure you get an up-to-date valuation of any properties owned.

"It's always best to seek expert financial advice when it comes to planning for your future - don't get caught out based on the assumption that you don't have enough wealth to qualify."

Evelyn Partners tax expert Laura Hayward added: "This latest hike in IHT receipts provides a fresh reminder that families should give careful thought as to how best to manage their tax planning to ensure they don't pay more tax than they need to.

"Families that find they are being dragged above the IHT threshold may wish to consider taking relatively easy steps to manage their exposure to IHT.

"Gifts you make to other individuals are generally not subject to IHT unless you die within seven years. There is also an annual gift allowance of up to £3,000 per tax year, and this will not be subject to IHT even if you do die within seven years.

"This £3,000 annual allowance can only be brought forward for one tax year, so if you have assets to spare you may want to consider using up this and last year's allowance before 5 April. Families should also ensure they invest in the most tax-efficient manner possible.

"The scrapping of the lifetime allowance for pensions in last week's Budget will greatly increase the IHT breaks available for people with wealth to pass down to the next generation, as pensions are generally exempt from IHT.

"Therefore, pensions could now be considered a vehicle for tax-efficient death planning, without any intention of ever drawing the money out. But people should be aware that pension rules could easily be changed again in the future, only to find this tax advantage withdrawn at the point that it really matters."