Inheritance Tax in the UK

Essay Question:

‘Inheritance Tax is relatively easy to avoid, and abolishing it altogether would result in a fairer system of taxation.’

Critically discuss the above statement.

The jurisdiction is the UK; thus all the legislation and case reference should be based on the UK law.

You should cite as many books, articles, cases as possible as the examiners are looking for this.

Critical analysis is a must. When an argument is presented, a counter-arugment should also be presented followed by analysing any pros and cons of the counter argument.

Guidance Notes:


The introduction should briefly set out the key factors of inheritance tax.
The introduction could also briefly outline some of the advantages and disadvantages of inheritance tax.

Main body

The main body of your answer should set out in more detail how inheritance tax operates. In doing so, you should look briefly at the way that inheritance tax operates, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the current system of inheritance tax. You should then examine in more detail whether it is indeed relatively easy to avoid. To do this your answer would use a selection of statute, case law, and articles.

You’re answer would consider whether inheritance tax operates in accordance with the four maxims of taxation set out by Adam Smith. You should then critically discuss the proposal of abolishing inheritance tax.

You would then look at the possible alternative to inheritance tax, considering questions such as how this alternative would operate, and possibly examining other jurisdictions which have an alternative to inheritance tax in place.


The conclusion should critically analyse whether abolishing inheritance tax could result in a fairer system of taxation. It could also discuss any possible alternatives which might result in a preferable system.

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