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80 per cent of taxpayers want IHT cut

More than eight of out ten taxpayers and businessmen want inheritance tax to be cut as part of any future tax reform.

Over 70 per cent think the proposed 18 per cent capital gains flat rate is a bad idea and 84 per cent think stamp duty should be scrapped. But two-thirds back a tax hike for private equity managers, according to the survey by accounting firm MacIntyre Hudson.

According to the research, 82 per cent of the 200 taxpayers and businessmen surveyed identified inheritance tax as a priority for tax reduction.

Eighty-three per cent believe IHT is an unfair tax on wealth while 15 per cent see it as a fair tax which reduces inequality. More than 90 per cent were in favour of the Treasury allowing the unused allowance of a married or civil partner to be transferred on death to their surviving spouse.

Eighty per cent back the Liberal Democrat policy for a £500,000 threshold and 70 per cent support the Tory proposal to raise the threshold to £1m. The research also suggests 88 per cent of Labour sympathisers favour a £500,000 threshold, with more than half supporting a £1m threshold.

MacIntyre Hudson tax principal Nigel May says: “The fact that the majority of Labour sympathisers support Lib Dem and Conservative policies for more dramatic increases in the threshold underlines the unpopularity of the current IHT regime. While the majority support the Chancellor’s decision to make the IHT allowance transferable between spouses upon death, the support for a higher threshold indicates that Darling needs to go much further.”

According to the survey, three quarters of respondents also believe the reforms to CGT will deal a heavy blow to Britain’s entrepreneurs.

MacIntyre Hudson tax principal Patrick King says: “These findings illustrate how deeply unpopular Alistair Darling’s original CGT reforms were, and why he had to soften the blow with entrepreneurs’ relief. With even the majority of Labour sympathisers agreeing that Darling’s original plans would deal a blow to the entrepreneurial spirit this Government has fostered, it is clear why he had to bow to opposition and introduce concessions.”

The research shows two thirds agree a 18 per cent flat rate for private equity managers on gains above £9,200 is fairer than the existing 10 per cent rate.

Eighty per cent also believe stamp duty is a high priority for tax reduction. Eighty four per cent support a Conservative proposal to scrap stamp duty for first time buyers of properties valued at up to £250,000.

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