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How Much Money Can I Give to My Children and Grandchildren as Tax-Free Gifts?

Updated: Jun 7

Knowing how and when to give money to your grandchildren and children will enable them to fully get the most benefit from your tax-free gifts, without paying tax more than you have to. Learn more about the way inheritance tax works and the best ways to give money to your loved ones as tax-efficiently as you can.

Understanding UK Tax-Free Gifts for Children and Grandchildren

Introduction to Tax-Free Gifts in the UK

In the United Kingdom, tax regulations allow individuals to give gifts to their children and grandchildren without incurring inheritance tax (IHT), subject to certain conditions and limits. This guide will explore the various options available for making such gifts, which is especially relevant for UK taxpayers who wish to support their family members financially without additional tax implications.

Annual Exemption: The £3,000 Limit

Each UK citizen is entitled to an annual tax-free gift allowance of £3,000. This allowance permits individuals to give money as lump sums to their children or grandchildren without worrying about inheritance tax implications. The key points regarding this allowance are:

  • The total annual exemption is £3,000, not per recipient.

  • The £3,000 can be given to one person or split among multiple recipients.

  • Unused annual exemption can be carried forward, but only for one tax year, effectively allowing a maximum of £6,000 if the previous year’s exemption was not utilized​​​​.

Small Gifts: Additional Tax-Free Giving

Beyond the annual exemption, there are provisions for making small gifts:

  • You can gift up to £250 per person per year without it counting towards your estate for IHT purposes.

  • There’s no limit to the number of recipients for these small gifts, provided no other gifts are made to that same person in the tax year.

Wedding Gifts: Special Exemptions

Wedding gifts carry their own separate allowances:

  • Parents can give up to £5,000 as a wedding gift to their children.

  • Grandparents can give up to £2,500 to their grandchildren for their wedding.

  • For friends or other relatives, the wedding gift exemption is up to £1,000 per person.

  • These amounts are exempt from IHT and are in addition to the annual £3,000 exemption​​.

Normal Expenditure and Family Maintenance

The UK tax system allows certain types of regular gifts to be made free of IHT. These include:

  • Gifts made out of your normal income (like birthday or Christmas gifts), provided they don’t affect your standard of living.

  • Payments for family maintenance, such as supporting a child or elderly relative, are also exempt from IHT.

The Seven-Year Rule

If you make a gift larger than the annual exemptions and die within seven years of making the gift, the value of the gift may be subject to IHT, depending on the size of the gift and the timing relative to your death. Taper relief may apply if the gift was made between 3-7 years before death.

Gifts with Reservation

If you give a gift but continue to benefit from it, it will still be considered part of your estate for IHT purposes.

Potentially Exempt Transfers

Larger gifts are potentially exempt, meaning they will be free from IHT if you survive for at least seven years after making the gift. If you die within this period, the gift may reduce your IHT nil-rate band or be subject to IHT if the gift exceeds the threshold.

Regular Payments From Your Taxed Income

You could also offer your grandchild or child money by contributing regularly to their daily expenses or expenditures from your tax-deductible earnings. For children or grandchildren to not pay tax on these gifts The pattern of giving should be regular, like regular gifts to pay for the child's rent or a grandparent to pay fees for school. It is essential to show HMRC that giving money does not affect your living standards.

Note: In the event that you pass away within 7 years of making the transfer to your child or grandchild, it will be considered a part of your estate, and will be taxed according to the rules. But if you live beyond that, the money won't be taxed.

Understanding these exemptions and allowances is crucial for UK taxpayers wishing to support their children and grandchildren financially. Utilizing these allowances effectively can ensure that your generosity does not inadvertently lead to additional tax burdens. The following sections will delve into more specific scenarios and strategies for tax-efficient gifting.

How Much Money Can I Give to My Children and Grandchildren as Tax-Free Gifts?

What are the Rules Surrounding Gifting Money?

According to HMRC regulations, anyone is permitted to give the amount they wish to give within certain time periods without having to pay tax. Beyond those limits and outside of these conditions they are taxed just like estates in order to make sure that people do not use them to avoid paying the inheritance tax.

In general, gifts to grandchildren and children are tax-free if

● You are not able to pay more than the £3000 total amount during a tax year.

● The gifts aren't too big (less than £250 for each person).

● You can give a certain amount of money on the day of a wedding.

● You can give the money for up to seven years prior to your death.

If you don't, any money you give to someone, or a charity can be subject to tax, which can be as high as 40 percent.

What Do I Need to Know about Taxes When I Make Tax-free Gifts?

In reality, you could give whatever you want to your kids or grandchildren however, they could have to pay an unexpected tax if you do not take this into consideration when making your plans. Inheritance tax (IHT) is the primary tax you should consider when giving cash.

How Does Inheritance Tax Work?

IHT (inheritance tax) is a tax you pay on your estate as well as certain lifetime gifts made after your death. The term "estate" typically refers to your home, assets, possessions and the like in addition to any outstanding dues that you have.

Typically, IHT (inheritance tax) will only need to be paid if the worth of your estate is greater than that threshold of £325,000. Anything over this threshold is generally taxed at 40 percent.

If you're making gifts during your lifetime, then there's also your 'annual exemption' to think about.

It is also possible to get an exemption on gifts made from your income that do not affect your living standards or require you to draw from your savings. The tax-free gifts will usually have to be regularly scheduled and you'll need to keep the records of your executors to verify this.

IHT and the Gifting

Sometimes, the tax-free gifts you make during your lifetime could be taxed upon your death. In general, any amount that you give beyond the annual exemption of £3,000 can be added to the amount of your estate if you do not live for seven years afterward.

Donating other Assets

Tax on capital gains (CGT) is a different tax to be considered when making a gift. CGT is the tax you pay on any profits earned by selling an asset that isn't cash or a gift that has grown in value. This includes, for instance, the property (other than your primary home) and personal possessions that are worth £6,000 or greater, or shares that aren't included in your individual savings accounts (ISA) or pension scheme.

Giving away assets in the form of a gift is considered to be a 'disposal of an asset' this means you might have to pay tax in the event that you gift an item like this to a grandchild or a child. It is possible to get an exemption for the annual of £12,300 on gains (for the tax year 2022/23) prior to any tax that will be due on any gain. The assets are also subject to the seven-year rule which means that IHT and CGT may be due.

Tax-Free Gifts to Children and Grandchildren

What Can I Do to Give My Grandchildren or Children Tax-Free Gifts?

That's a lot of kinds of tax that you need to take into consideration. In order to make things simpler Here are some tax-efficient ways to donate money to your kids and grandchildren.

Give Regularly

The gift of £3,000 can be carried forward for a year, but if you don't utilize it in the two tax years you'll forfeit the option. Therefore, giving money to loved ones regularly is effective in reducing the IHT due to your estate upon your death.

Give Larger Tax-free Gifts but be Aware of the Seven-Year Rule

If you decide to donate more money to someone else but they won't count for IHT purposes, for as long as you're alive for seven years following the gift. If you don't live for the entire seven years, the amount you've donated is added to the estate's value.

Contribute to their ISA

You could open the Junior ISA (JISA) for your child, or save it into JISA on behalf of your grandchild. You can pay up to £9,000 during tax year JISA. JISA and the funds can be invested, giving the opportunity to grow the savings of your grandchild or child over time.

The money can be accessed once they turn 18 and will not have to have to pay tax on the money that they take out of the JISA or pay CGT for any growth in their investments.

It is also worth giving them a Lifetime ISA. Based on the age of the person, the amount you give to a grandchild or child to help them save money into a Lifetime ISA could help them save money for a house or increase their retirement savings.

This Lifetime ISA can only be opened between 18 and 39. So, you aren't able to make it available to those who are older than that. There are a few requirements that you have to meet in order before you can get a Lifetime ISA, which you are able to read more about at

Think about the Benefits of Using a Trust

Many grandparents could plan to leave money to their children by way of a Will. What if you want to provide them with financial support even if you're no longer in the same position? A trust will allow you to do this, while also providing a variety of benefits.

As trustees, you have the ability to control the amount of money you pay them and gifts to the trust may decrease your estate's value for IHT. The use of the discretionary trust provides grandparents with the most freedom and control, but the tax burden is greater and more complicated. In particular, while the majority of tax-free gifts described in this article may be covered under an exemption or be a tax-free move, making a donation made to the discretionary trust is an irrevocable transfer that is tax-free and may be subject to IHT at the time that the donation is received.

This can be simplified when trustees decide to put their money into the form of an overseas bond because the bond won't produce revenue. If the funds are required to cover university costs, for instance, bonds may be given to the grandson. Any gain that is chargeable following the assignment will be taken into account by the grandchild who is a student and would likely be tax-payer-free at all times. A bond that is offshore within the discretionary trust could be a good way to combine control and tax effectiveness.

Tax-Free Gifts to Children and Grandchildren

Consider Using Your Pension Savings

If you're 55 or older (rising to 57 by 2028) you'll be able to access your pension savings, and typically receive 25% of the pot tax-free. Therefore, you might want to think about using a portion of your tax-free lump sum as an offer to your beloved family members.

Keep in mind that your savings from pensions need to last until retirement, so ensure that you don't give away things you may require later on. Additionally, making use of your pension funds to support your family members doesn't mean that it will have to be done in your lifetime. This is especially true in the event that taking money from it today means that you don't have enough to pay for yourself.

It is also possible to think about nominating a family member to be a beneficiary so that your pension plan is transferred to them. The pension plan you have isn't typically included in the estate of your deceased, therefore your beneficiaries won't have to pay IHT for it but they may have to pay tax on any money they decide to withdraw in the event that you die at 75 years of age. It's not the case with any pension scheme but verify with your provider if not certain.

Use a Child's Bank Account

Perfect for small amounts of cash, bank accounts are convenient and easy for friends and family members to deposit cash into. Also, giving children the ability to access their money accounts can assist them in managing their own funds. Be aware that the amount of interest is generally low and inflation could eat away at any gains. Remember, any gifts made to them will be a part of your estate after seven years (unless they are protected through the exemption).

What are the Main Differences Between Gifting to a Grandchild and Gifting to a Child?

If your child is getting married, you may give tax-free gifts of at least £2,500 during a year to a great-grandchild or grandchild (on top of that annual allowance). This amount rises to £5,000 for children of yours.

Additionally, as a grandparent you cannot create the JISA for your grandchild - it must be initiated by the child's legal guardian.

When you're the parent giving gifts to a child who is not married and they're under the age of 18 when the gift generates interest or pays dividends over £100 during any year of taxation, you must follow certain additional rules. The gift's earnings are taxed as if it were your own. This is in order to prevent parents from trying to obtain an exemption from taxes from their own earnings by taking advantage of their allowances. This doesn't apply to grandparents, nor to gifts given by parents for their kids' JISAs.

Advanced Considerations for Tax-Free Gifting

The Seven-Year Rule and Taper Relief

One critical aspect of gifting in the UK is the seven-year rule, which applies to larger gifts. This rule is pivotal in determining the tax implications of a gift should the giver pass away within seven years of making the gift. The key points are:

  • No tax is due on gifts if the giver lives for seven years after giving them.

  • If the giver dies within seven years, the gift may be subject to inheritance tax, depending on when it was given.

  • Gifts given within three years of death are taxed at 40%.

  • Gifts given between three to seven years before death are subject to taper relief, a sliding scale of taxation.

  • Taper relief rates vary: 32% for 3-4 years, 24% for 4-5 years, 16% for 5-6 years, and 8% for 6-7 years before death.

Gifts with Reservation

A 'gift with reservation' is a gift where the giver continues to benefit from the item or property given. Such gifts can have significant tax implications:

  • If you give away an asset but still enjoy its benefits, it will be included in the valuation of your estate for IHT purposes.

  • Examples include giving a home to a relative while continuing to live there, or giving away an item while still using it​.

Implications of Exceeding the £325,000 Threshold

When the total value of gifts given in the seven years before death exceeds £325,000, the tax implications change:

  • The IHT is typically paid by the estate, unless more than £325,000 in gifts is given away in the seven years before death.

  • If this threshold is exceeded, the recipients of the gifts will be liable for IHT on their gifts.

  • For instance, if a gift of £100,000 is made three years before death and the £325,000 threshold is exceeded, the recipient would owe 32% IHT on that gift​.

Understanding the nuances of the seven-year rule, gifts with reservation, and the implications of exceeding the £325,000 threshold is crucial for effective tax planning. These rules ensure that larger gifts are given in a manner that minimizes the potential tax burden on both the giver and the recipient.

There are Many Options But There is Plenty to think About

The positive side lies in the fact that there exist a variety of tax-efficient methods to help the people you love. In addition, keeping records of your donations will allow those you love most to claim the tax benefits to which they are entitled upon your death.

It's a complex field, so it's advised to seek advice regarding your family's situation to ensure you get the most out of your money and also their future. If you do not have a financial advisor and are looking for one, you can call us at 07985689912.

Note: Your individual circumstances such as where you reside in the UK can influence your tax bill and laws and tax regulations could alter in the future.

Case Study: Charles Whitmore's Tax-Free Gifts to His Grandchildren

In May 2024, Charles Whitmore, a retired banker living in Surrey, decided to financially assist his three grandchildren through tax-free gifts, ensuring that these gestures would not incur any inheritance tax (IHT) liabilities. This case study explores how Charles navigated the tax laws to maximize his contributions without triggering unwanted tax implications.

Background Scenario and Initial Planning

Charles, a widower, has a sizeable estate valued at approximately £600,000. His primary goal is to support his grandchildren's education and first-time home purchases, all while minimizing his tax liability. Before making any gifts, he consulted with a tax advisor to understand the specific tax implications and allowances available under UK tax law.

Understanding the Allowances and Exemptions

  • Annual Exemption: Charles learned that he could give away up to £3,000 per year without this gift being added to the value of his estate for IHT purposes. If unused, this allowance can be carried forward one year but no further. For example, if Charles didn't use this exemption in the previous tax year, he could gift up to £6,000 in 2024 without any tax implications.

  • Small Gift Exemption: Besides the annual exemption, Charles could also give smaller gifts of up to £250 to as many individuals as he wanted each year, provided these recipients hadn't already benefited from his £3,000 annual exemption.

  • Wedding Gifts: For his granddaughter’s upcoming wedding, Charles could give a larger, one-time tax-free gift. As a grandparent, he could give up to £2,500 for the wedding, and this amount wouldn't count towards the £3,000 annual exemption.

  • Regular Payments from Income: Charles also opted to make regular financial contributions to his grandchildren's living costs. These payments are exempt from IHT as long as they come from his regular income and do not affect his standard of living. This is particularly useful for tuition fees and monthly allowances.

Application of Gifts in 2024

With his tax advisor’s guidance, Charles structured his gifts as follows:

  • Annual Exemption: He distributed £6,000 equally among his three grandchildren, utilizing the unused exemption from the previous year plus the current year's allowance.

  • Small Gifts: At Christmas, he gave each grandchild an additional £250.

  • Wedding Gift: He gifted £2,500 to his eldest granddaughter for her wedding.

  • Regular Support: He set up a monthly direct debit of £500 to each grandchild to support their ongoing expenses, structured as regular payments from his income.

Potential Tax Implications and Precautions

It was crucial for Charles to survive for seven years after making any of these larger gifts to ensure they remained exempt from IHT under the rules of potentially exempt transfers (PETs). If Charles were to pass away within this period, the gifts would be subject to a sliding scale of IHT based on the years elapsed since the gift was made.

To safeguard against any complications, Charles kept meticulous records of all gifts, including the dates and amounts, as recommended by his advisor. This documentation would be essential for his estate executor to establish the tax status of the gifts should Charles pass away within seven years of any PETs.

Through careful planning and adherence to the UK's gift tax rules, Charles effectively managed to support his grandchildren's future without burdening them with potential tax liabilities. His proactive approach, coupled with expert advice, ensured that his generosity was both impactful and tax-efficient.

How a Tax Accountant Can Help Manage Gifting to Grandchildren

Understanding Tax Implications

A tax accountant is skilled in interpreting the complex UK tax laws and regulations. They can provide clarity on how gifting impacts inheritance tax (IHT) liabilities, helping you understand the tax implications of different types of gifts, such as cash, property, or shares.

Maximizing Allowances

Tax accountants can guide you in maximizing the use of allowances and exemptions. They can help structure your gifts within the £3,000 annual exemption limit, advise on the use of small gift allowances, and assist in planning larger potentially exempt transfers.

Navigating the Seven-Year Rule

Understanding and planning around the seven-year rule is crucial in gifting. A tax accountant can offer strategies to mitigate potential IHT if you were to pass away within seven years of making a gift. They can also explain how taper relief works and its implications on your estate.

Record Keeping and Reporting

Good record-keeping is essential for tax purposes. An accountant can maintain detailed records of all gifts made, including dates and amounts, ensuring that all information is readily available for IHT calculations if needed.

Estate Planning Integration

Gifting to grandchildren is often part of a broader estate plan. A tax accountant can integrate your gifting strategy into your overall estate plan, ensuring it aligns with your long-term financial goals and estate planning objectives.

Customized Gifting Strategies

Every family's situation is unique. An accountant can tailor a gifting strategy that suits your specific financial situation, your grandchildren’s needs, and your long-term financial goals.

Future Tax Law Changes

Tax laws are subject to change. A tax accountant stays updated on current and potential future changes in tax legislation and advises you accordingly. This proactive approach ensures that your gifting strategy remains effective and compliant with current laws.

Advising on Complex Gifting Scenarios

In cases involving substantial assets or complex family structures, a tax accountant can offer expert advice. They can guide you through scenarios like gifting property or shares, setting up trusts, or making large one-off gifts.

Avoiding Unintended Tax Consequences

Without proper planning, gifting can have unintended tax consequences. An accountant can help you avoid pitfalls such as creating a potential IHT liability or impacting your own financial security.

Regular Reviews and Updates

A tax accountant can conduct regular reviews of your gifting strategy to ensure it remains aligned with your circumstances and any legislative changes. They can provide ongoing advice and make adjustments as needed.

A tax accountant plays a vital role in helping you manage gifting to your grandchildren in a tax-efficient and legally compliant manner. Their expertise in tax law, estate planning, and financial strategy can prove invaluable in ensuring that your generosity achieves your intended goals without adverse tax consequences.

20 FAQs about Gifting Money to Children and Grandchildren

Q: Can I gift money to my grandchildren for their education without tax implications?

A: Yes, regular payments for education, such as school fees, can be made tax-free if they come from your surplus income and don't affect your standard of living.

Q: Is there a limit on the number of grandchildren I can give small gifts of £250 to?

A: No, there's no limit on the number of grandchildren you can give small gifts to, as long as you haven't used another allowance on the same person.

Q: Can I contribute to my grandchild's Junior ISA without tax implications? A: Yes, anyone can contribute to a child's Junior ISA tax-free, as long as the total contributions don't exceed £9,000 in a single tax year​​.

Q: Are gifts of property to grandchildren subject to the same tax rules as cash gifts?

A: Yes, gifts of property are subject to the same rules as cash gifts. They may be potentially exempt transfers if you live for seven years after making the gift.

Q: How does gifting a family heirloom to a grandchild affect my tax liability? A: Gifting high-value items like heirlooms can be a tax-efficient way to transfer wealth. However, if the grandchild sells the item, they may have to pay capital gains tax on the sale​​.

Q: Can I pay for my grandchild’s wedding tax-free?

A: Yes, grandparents can gift up to £2,500 to a grandchild as a wedding gift without it being taxed.

Q: Are there any tax implications for buying Premium Bonds for my grandchildren?

A: No, buying Premium Bonds for grandchildren is tax-free. The bonds don’t pay interest but offer the chance to win tax-free prizes​​.

Q: Can I set up a savings account for my grandchild and gift money into it? A: Yes, you can set up a savings account for your grandchild and gift money into it within the annual exemption limits.

Q: Is it possible to make tax-free gifts to my grandchildren living abroad?

A: Yes, you can make tax-free gifts to grandchildren living abroad, but be aware of the tax laws in the recipient's country.

Q: Can I give my grandchildren stocks or shares as a tax-free gift?

A: Yes, you can gift stocks or shares, but these are subject to the same tax rules as cash gifts.

Q: If I sell an asset and gift the proceeds to my grandchildren, are there tax implications?

A: Yes, if you sell an asset and gift the proceeds, you may be liable for capital gains tax on the sale, and the gifted amount will be considered for IHT.

Q: How does contributing to my grandchild's living expenses affect my tax? A: Regular contributions to living expenses can be made tax-free from your surplus income, as long as it doesn't affect your standard of living.

Q: Are gifts made to help grandchildren purchase their first home taxable? A: Gifts for purchasing a home can be potentially exempt transfers. If you survive seven years after making the gift, it's tax-free.

Q: Can I gift money to my grandchild’s trust without incurring taxes?

A: Yes, you can gift money to a trust for your grandchild, but the rules surrounding trusts and taxation are complex. It's advisable to consult a financial advisor​​.

Q: Do I need to declare gifts made to grandchildren on my tax return?

A: Generally, you don't need to declare small gifts or those within your annual exemption on your tax return.

Q: How can I ensure that my gifts to grandchildren don’t affect their eligibility for student loans or grants?

A: It’s important to check the criteria for student financial aid, as some assessments consider family contributions and gifts.

Q: Can I make a tax-free gift to my grandchild for purchasing a vehicle?

A: Yes, but if the gift exceeds your annual exemption limits, it may be subject to IHT rules.

Q: Is it possible to gift money to my grandchild’s parent for their benefit without tax implications?

A: Yes, but the same rules apply as if you were gifting directly to the grandchild.

Q: Are there any special tax considerations for gifting to a disabled grandchild?

A: Special tax considerations might apply, and it's advisable to consult a tax professional for specific advice in such cases.

Q: What are the tax implications if I want to gift my grandchild a sum of money for starting a business?

A: The gift can be tax-free under the annual exemption or potentially exempt transfers, but if it’s a significant amount, it may affect your IHT liability.


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