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The response to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request has revealed that as many as one in four estates that are liable for IHT are investigated each year.
In 2018-19, more than 5,500 investigations were launched by HMRC into the approximately 22,000 estates that had to pay the tax.
Despite the introduction of the Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) effectively increasing the IHT threshold when a main residence is left to a direct descendent, the number of investigations has increased by 7.8 per cent since 2017.
The figures came within weeks of the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) unveiling proposals to simplify IHT, which is widely regarded as overly complicated and difficult to understand.