Alternative Investment Market shares

Reducing an Inheritance Tax liability on an estate

Investing in Alternative Investment Market (AIM) shares is one way of reducing an Inheritance Tax liability on an estate. Qualifying AIM shares offer more Inheritance Tax relief than some other assets and qualify as ‘business property investments.’ If property is held as AIM shares in certain trading companies, for a period of at least 2 years, it becomes eligible for Inheritance Tax Business Property Relief at 100 per cent and will fall out of the estate for Inheritance Tax purposes. This relief is a relief by value, the shares are treated as having no value for Inheritance Tax purposes.

Not all AIM companies are eligible for Business Property Relief however. To qualify, a company must be a trading company carrying out the majority of its business in the UK. Businesses trading in land or securities, or receiving a substantial amount of income from letting property or land, are excluded. Also, it must not be listed on another recognised stock exchange. If a company qualified for Inheritance Tax relief when the shares were bought, but was subsequently disqualified under these criteria, investors must reinvest their holdings into new qualifying shares within 6 months to retain the Business Property Relief exemption.

Investing in the AIM will suit financially secure people with other liquid capital who can invest widely enough to bear the risks involved. AIM shares can be unpredictable and invest in smaller, less established companies with fewer investors than other stock markets, so share prices can be volatile, rising or falling rapidly. You should always receive professional advice before considering this option to mitigate a potential Inheritance Tax liability.