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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Employee benefit trusts: conditions for relief: best interests of the company

Where the trusts give the trustees certain powers that they can exercise if they ‘think it to be in the best interests of the company’ those powers might be capable of being exercised to benefit a group of employees or beneficiaries outside IHTA84/S86.

For example, the company may have created another settlement for the benefit of a selected group of employees (say, the directors). The price for shares may not have to be fixed by reference to the open market value, so the power could be exercised in favour of the directors by selling them shares at less than the open market value - if it were ‘in the best interests of the company’.

In such cases the terms of IHTA84/S86 will not be satisfied and the trust will be a relevant property trust (IHTM42161).