Public Opposition To 'Unfair' Inheritance Tax

MORE than two thirds of British people (69%) think it unfair to tax a person's estate after their death, according to new research from MORI. The survey, for Friends Provident, looks at views on inheritance tax, it's fairness as a means of generating tax revenues, and whether the current threshold (£263,000) is considered correct. Most people (57%) think the threshold should be raised and two thirds (67%) believe a 'banding' system should be introduced, so that smaller amounts attract a lower rate and larger sums a higher rate.

Public Opposition To 'Unfair' Inheritance Tax

MORE than two thirds of British people (69%) think it unfair to tax a person's estate after their death, according to new research from MORI. The survey, for Friends Provident, looks at views on inheritance tax, it's fairness as a means of generating tax revenues, and whether the current threshold (163263,000) is considered correct. Most people (57%) think the threshold should be raised and two thirds (67%) believe a 'banding' system should be introduced, so that smaller amounts attract a lower rate and larger sums a higher rate.

Topline Results

  • MORI interviewed 1,975 British adults aged 15+ years
  • Interviews were carried out face-to-face in respondents' homes using CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview)
  • All interviews were conducted between 10-14 September 2004
  • Data is weighted to the GB population profile
  • Where figures do not sum to 100 per cent, this may be due to computer rounding, multiple codes or the exclusion of "Not stated"
  • Figures marked with a * are less than 1 per cent
  • All answers are based on all respondents (1,975) unless indicated otherwise

I would like to ask you a few questions about inheritance tax. Inheritance tax is the tax on a person's estate -- in other words, their wealth -- when they die. At present the first 163263,000 on an estate is tax-free and inheritance tax is payable at 40% on everything over this amount.

Q1 In principle, do you think taxing a person's estate when they die is a fair or unfair way of raising some of the revenue a Government needs?

  %
Fair 19
Unfair 69
No opinion 12

Q2 Inheritance tax currently starts on inherited wealth of 163263,000. Do you think the tax should start at a lower level, a higher level, or is the starting level about right? Is that a much lower/higher level, or slightly lower/higher?

  %
Should start much lower 5
Should start slightly lower 6
About right now 18
Should start slightly higher 16
Should start much higher 41
No opinion 14

Q3 Inheritance tax is paid at a flat rate of 40% for everybody. Would you prefer to keep a flat rate of 40% or switch to a tax banding system like income tax, so that smaller amounts attract a lower rate and larger sums a higher rate?

  %
Keep flat rate of 40% 14
Switch to banding system 67
No opinion 20

Q4 A research institute has proposed this system of inheritance tax banding:

  • Estates under 163263,000 stay tax-free
  • Tax paid at 22% up to 163288,000
  • Tax paid at 40% up to 163763,000
  • And 50% on estates above that

On balance, do you think this sounds fairer than a flat tax of 40% on all estates over 163263,000, less fair, or no difference?

  %
Fairer 55
Less fair 13
No different 12
No opinion 19

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