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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Quick succession relief: what the relief does



The relief reduces the tax payable on the death estate. This means the whole of the death estate for IHT purposes, not only the deceased’s free estate. It includes

  • settled property forming part of their estate for Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes (IHTM16061)
  • gifts with reservation (GWR) (IHTM04071) treated as part of the death estate under FA86/S102(3).

Provided tax is payable on any part of the deceased’s death estate, you must allow any quick succession relief (QSR) (IHTM22041) which is due. It does not matter what part of the deceased’s death estate is chargeable.

Example 1

Charles inherited a house on the death of a parent in 2008. IHT was paid.

Charles lived in the house and died there in 2010.  By Will he left his estate wholly to his civil partner Michael. Charles was also a life tenant under a family settlement. The trust fund, value £400,000 at Charles’s death, passed to his nephews and nieces.

QSR is due on Charles’s death. The fact that the property which he received on the earlier transfer is exempt on his death does not matter. As tax is payable on a part of the death estate, the settled property, QSR applies. The tax due on the settled property will be reduced by the available QSR.

If tax is payable on the deceased’s death under more than one title (such as the free estate and settled property), you have to apply the QSR in proportion between the different titles, as shown in example 2.

Example 2

Tina dies in May 2012 leaving a free estate of £300,000. She was also the life tenant of a settled fund of £200,000. Both the free estate and settled fund are wholly chargeable. QSR of £10,000 is due on Tina’s death as she inherited assets on an earlier death.

The £10,000 QSR comes off the tax on the whole death estate of £500,000. You must apportion the net amount of tax after the relief between the free estate and the settled property:


Tax on £500,000 £70,000
Less QSR £10,000
Total £60,000


Tax on free estate:

(£300,000 ÷ £500,000) × £60,000 = £36,000


Tax on settled property:

(£200,000 ÷ £500,000) × £60,000 = £24,000


Because QSR reduces the tax payable on the death estate, it cannot exceed the amount of that tax. If the QSR calculation results in a figure greater than the tax due, the relief is limited to the amount of the tax, reducing it to zero. The excess cannot be paid to the taxpayer.