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Pre-Owned Asset Tax in the UK: Essential Insights

By admin
31 May 2024
Manage Tax Risk

Estate planning in the UK involves understanding various tax regulations, one of which is the Pre-Owned Asset Tax (POAT). Designed to close loopholes in inheritance tax (IHT) planning, POAT ensures that individuals cannot sidestep tax liabilities by indirectly benefiting from assets they once owned. In this article, Edge Tax aims to elucidate the intricacies of POAT, its implications, and strategies for compliance and mitigation.

What is Pre-Owned Asset Tax?

Pre-Owned Asset Tax (POAT) was introduced in April 2005 as an anti-avoidance measure. Its primary purpose is to charge income tax on individuals who continue to benefit from assets they have disposed of, in a manner that might otherwise escape inheritance tax under the Gift with Reservation of Benefit (GROB) rules.

For example, if Mr. Brown transfers his property into a trust but continues to live in it, POAT ensures that he cannot avoid tax implications by charging an income tax based on the property’s market rental value.

Key Criteria for POAT

Pre-Owned Asset Tax applies under specific circumstances where the following criteria are met:

Previous Ownership: The individual must have owned the asset or provided funds for its acquisition.

Continued Enjoyment: The individual continues to benefit from the asset without paying full market value for such enjoyment.

Relevant Arrangements: The asset is held in a way that suggests an arrangement to avoid inheritance tax, such as transferring it to a trust or to family members while still benefiting from it.

Assets Subject to Pre-Owned Asset Tax

Pre-Owned Asset Tax applies to a variety of assets, including:

Real Property: Residential and commercial properties.

Chattels: Valuable personal possessions like art, jewellery, or antiques.

Financial Assets: Investments and other financial instruments.

Calculating the Pre-Owned Asset Tax Charge

The POAT charge is based on the “enjoyment value” of the asset, typically the market rent that would be paid if the asset were leased on an open market. The calculated value is then subject to income tax at the individual’s marginal rate.

For example, if Mrs. Green transfers her home into a trust but continues to live there, the market rent for the property is assessed, and she must pay income tax on this amount.

Interaction with the GROB Rules

POAT and GROB are closely related, both targeting avoidance schemes in inheritance tax planning. While GROB ensures that assets from which the donor continues to benefit remain part of their estate for IHT purposes, POAT imposes an income tax charge if the arrangement circumvents GROB. Essentially, if an arrangement avoids GROB, it may still trigger a POAT charge.

Exceptions and Exemptions

Certain circumstances exempt an individual from POAT:

Market Rent Payment: If the individual pays full market rent for continued use of the asset.

Excluded Transactions: Transactions that are entirely commercial with no intention of tax avoidance.

Regular Gifts Out of Income: Gifts made regularly out of surplus income that do not affect the donor’s standard of living.

Planning and Mitigation Strategies

Effective estate planning requires careful consideration of both POAT and GROB rules. Here are some strategies to manage potential tax liabilities:

Paying Market Rent: Ensuring that market rent is paid for continued use of the asset can prevent POAT charges. This arrangement must be properly documented and regular payments must be made.

Professional Valuation: Obtain a professional valuation of assets to accurately determine potential POAT charges.

Commercial Transactions: Engage in genuine commercial transactions where benefits are purely incidental, thus exempting the arrangement from Pre-Owned Asset Tax.

Regular Reviews: Regularly review estate plans to ensure compliance with current tax regulations and mitigate potential tax liabilities.

Professional Advice: Seek advice from tax professionals to navigate the complexities of POAT and GROB rules efficiently.

Practical Example

Consider Mr. Johnson, who transferred his valuable art collection into a trust to avoid inheritance tax but continues to display and enjoy the artwork in his home. Under POAT, Mr. Johnson would be liable to pay an income tax charge based on the market rental value of the art collection, assuming he doesn’t pay market rent for its continued use.


The Pre-Owned Asset Tax (POAT) is a crucial consideration in estate planning, ensuring that individuals cannot avoid tax liabilities through indirect benefits from previously owned assets. Understanding POAT’s nuances and its interaction with GROB rules is essential for effective tax planning and compliance.

At Edge Tax, our team of chartered tax advisers is dedicated to providing comprehensive guidance on POAT and other complex tax regulations. By working with us, you can ensure that your estate planning is both tax-efficient and compliant, helping you to manage and minimise potential tax liabilities effectively.

If you need personalised advice or have any questions regarding POAT, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our expertise and commitment to excellence ensure that your financial affairs are in expert hands.

A related article on Gift with Reservation of Benefit

If you wish to discuss the informaiton in the article with a member of the team then please contact us here

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