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Thousands more families to face IHT bills this year

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Thousands more families will be required to pay inheritance tax (IHT) this year as an improving economy and rising house prices pull them above the threshold, according to figures.

A total of 35,611 deaths will result in estates being charged IHT in 2014-2015, up 35% on the 26,337 recorded during the last financial year, according to Sunday Telegraph analysis of Office for National Statistics forecasts for death numbers and Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) projections of estates expected to become liable for the tax.

In 2015-2016, the number of estates liable for the death tax will rise to 43,811 and, by 2016, the number of families who must pay death tax will have risen by 66% in two years, according to the analysis.

Inheritance tax is levied at a rate of 40% on the value of an estate above a threshold of £325,000. Married couples can double the allowance by passing on assets to their children or other relations.

Though Chancellor George Osborne has frozen the threshold at 2009 levels until at least 2018, rising home and asset values are seeing more people pulled above it.

Property prices have been rising at faster than 10% annually in some areas, and the Bank of England has suggested they pose the biggest single threat to the economic recovery.

The Sunday Telegraph said its analysis has been verified by the independent OBR.

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