Ray & McLaughlin’s Practical Inheritance Tax Planning

Thursday, 01 October 2009
A review of 'Ray & McLaughlins Practical Inheritance Tax Planning' by Toby Harris, Mark McLaughlin and Ralph Ray.

It has been a delight to review the eighth edition of this extremely practical work because it gave me the chance to have a look back at the first edition of what was then Ray’s Practical CTT Planning (I have a copy signed by the author in my bookshelves!). I remember it as being full of commonsense and full of good ideas on dealing with a tax that was, at that time, new conceptually in terms of planning techniques.

I think that the book is invaluable and well worth being added to your shelves

I was delighted to find that the new edition maintains those excellent virtues although, inevitably, in terms of the amount of its content, its greater size mirrors the increase in the volume of tax legislation over the same period! The book is current to January 2009 so it includes material taking account of the changes in the Finance Act 2008, when the capital gains tax rate changed to 18 per cent. We might think, along with the welcome absence of IHT changes in the Finance Act 2009, there are unlikely to be major amendments next year either when politics mean that the Finance Act is likely to be a charmingly slim volume! But after that, who knows? Is IHT really sustainable when identical trust wordings in a will or in a lifetime trust create entirely different tax results? But that is for the future.

In the light of the attention the CTO has recently been giving to business property relief claims and in particular to the sensitive issue of farmhouses, I was particularly interested in that section. I found the discussion very clear and practical and the examples highlighted some of the unresolved issues. However, even better was the fact that the coverage covered many of the variants of farming practice to be found. Perhaps the discussion about contract farming, which has been so common over the years, might be slightly expanded, but in fairness, the book does not claim to deal with all the issues – after all, the advisor is being paid to do that!

I also liked the chapter on pre-owned assets, which is a tax that, probably because it is such a mess, one tends to consider only as being likely to apply if there is nothing else that might be relevant. The explanation was clear, insofar as anything about that tax is clear.

I thought that the layout of the sections was very ordered and practitioners will find very useful the chapter on the transferable nil rate band, which is dealt with as a separate issue before embarking on discussion about will planning.

I could go on extolling the virtues of this book but whether as an introduction to someone acting in connection with inheritance tax for the first time or as a reminder for an experienced practitioner I think that the book is invaluable and well worth being added to your shelves. Not only can you have it on your shelves, but the book is available with eBook access for a single user. Congratulations to the authors and best wishes to Ralph Ray who must be very proud that his creation flourishes in the way that it has always done as a practical and thoughtful guide.


Title: Ray & McLaughlins Practical Inheritance Tax Planning

Author: Toby Harris, Mark McLaughlin and Ralph Ray

ISBN: 978 1 84766 246 0

Price: GBP118 + VAT @ 7.7%

Publisher: Tottel Publishing

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Martyn Gowar

Martyn Gowar TEP is a Partner at McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP and an Editor of the STEP Journal.

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