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Inheritance tax threshold doubles

The chancellor, Alistair Darling, yesterday announced that the threshold for inheritance tax is to be doubled for married couples and civil partners.Currently, inheritance tax is charged at 40 per cent on assets worth more than £300,000 that someone leaves behind when they die, unless it is left to a spouse, but Mr Darling has made the individual inheritance tax threshold transferable - meaning couples will be able to combine their allowances and will not pay tax on the first £600,000 of an estate, rising to £700,000 by 2010. Mr Darling said that as many as 97 per cent of estates could be exempt and added that in the future, the government would take house prices and inflation into account when setting thresholds on inheritance tax.The Conservatives jeered the announcement in the Commons, saying that it was an attempt to curry favour after a fall in Labour's popularity in recent opinion polls.At their annual conference last week, the Conservatives pledged that they would make all estates under £1 million exempt from inheritance tax.

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