Staveley case: summary and outcomes

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You may have seen the news on Wednesday that the Supreme Court judgment in the Staveley inheritance tax case has been released, bringing the case to a close six years after the First Tier Tribunal ruling.

We’ve highlighted the key points below, or you can click the button below to read a more detailed analysis and the background to the case.

Staveley Case: Detailed analysis and the background

  • Omission to take pension benefits: Mrs Staveley’s decision not to access her pension funds did create an inheritance tax liability – however, this shouldn’t affect recent cases following a rule change in 2011
  • Transferring while in ill-health: Mrs Staveley’s decision to transfer her pension weeks before her death has not created an inheritance tax liability
  • The judgment clarifies when actions can be considered together as a series of transactions to confer benefits
  • The judgment questions whether death benefits can be conferred as part of a pension transfer, as beneficiaries don’t have any benefits or rights while the pension holder is alive
  • The judgment appears to question whether a pension transfer would always be a transfer of value, by rejecting HMRC’s ‘return to zero’ approach.

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