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How Much Cash Can You Gift Tax Free?

Written by, Marija Petkova

Updated September, 6, 2022

Whether it’s gifting money to family or friends, for a holiday or a birthday, there are numerous occasions to send a cash gift to someone else’s bank account.

But how much cash can you gift tax free?

Let’s find out.

How Much Money Can You Give as a Gift Tax-Free in the UK?

The HM Revenue and Customs, a non-government body responsible for collecting taxes, limits the annual tax exemption for all UK residents to £3,000.

In other words, you can give up to £3,000 in assets or cash in a tax year, tax-free.

You may be interested in: What Is Considered a Large Inheritance?

Inheritance tax may apply on gifts that exceed the £3,000 allowance limit in any tax year. This tax is paid after your death.

What’s more, the annual tax exemption amount is transferable to the next year but only for one year. For example, if you haven’t sent any cash gifts in 2021, you could send a total of £6,000 in 2022, but they aren’t carried forward in 2023.

Why Are Gifts Taxed?

The federal gift tax was put in place to prevent people from dodging the federal estate tax by handing over their money before they pass away. 

Can I Give Money Away to Avoid Inheritance Tax on Gifts?

If your property is worth more than £325,000 (£650,000 for married people and civil partners), some of it will almost certainly be taxable under the inheritance tax law when you pass away. 

However, you may give some gifts without incurring any tax liability after your death. UK law doesn’t tax citizens for gifts given to their spouses or partners, regardless of the amount, as long as they live permanently in the UK. 

Other exempt beneficiaries include some national organisations like museums and the National Trust, as well as registered UK charities.

Inheritance law also has a 7-year rule which states that no tax is due on gifts that were given 7 years prior to your death. The only exception to this rule is a gift given as part of a trust.

Gifting Money to Family Members

Tax exemption in the UK is often determined by the relationship between the gift giver and the recipient. 

How Much May I Gift Tax-Free to My Spouse or Civil Partner?

Did you know that British people collectively spend £1.45 billion worth of gifts during Valentine’s day. Spouses and partners are classified as “exempt beneficiaries.” As such, UK law doesn’t tax gifts between spouses and partners, regardless of the amount or purpose

How Much Cash Can I Gift to My Children and Family Tax-Free?

Gifts to children and family members are classified as regular gifts under UK law. The only exceptions are when you’re covering the living expenses of an elderly relative or paying rent for your child. 

The HMRC also doesn’t tax parents or guardians for putting money into their children’s savings accounts, provided they’re younger than 18.

Still, any gifts to children and family members that exceed the annual cap and take place in the 7 years before your death are taxable.

If you’re considering leaving cash or assets to family and friends to lower inheritance tax, you must keep a record of:

  • What you’ve gifted.
  • Who you gave it to and when.
  • How much it cost.

What Else Counts as a Gift?

A gift is anything of value, including money, belongings,  property, and stocks. 

Here are some examples of tax-free gifts:

Smaller Presents Under £250

The UK government also doesn’t tax small gifts, such as Christmas or birthday presents, of up to £250, provided that you pay for them from your regular income and that the recipient is someone who hasn’t received all or part of your £3,000 limit.

Gifts From Income 

Gifts from your taxed income are exempt from tax. This applies to donations and financial support for family and relatives (due to old age or disability), as well as children under 18.

Wedding Gifts

The amount of tax on wedding gifts in the UK is determined by your relationship with the recipient. You can give up to £1,000 as a wedding gift to someone who isn’t related to you, no more than £2,500 if it’s to a grandchild or a civil partner, and up to £5,000 if it’s to your own kid

Wedding gifts are tax-free as long as they are given before the wedding. 

Contributions to Charity Organisations and Political Parties

You will not be required to pay inheritance tax on gifts made to:

  • Charities based in the UK
  • Political parties
  • National museums
  • Academic institutions
  • The National Trust 
  • Amateur sports teams

Furthermore, if you leave gifts to UK-based charities or political parties in your will, you may be eligible for a lower IHT rate (36%, rather than 40%) on your leftover inheritance, provided that the amount you leave is at least 10% of your taxed inheritance.

Bottom Line

The HMRC allows everyone living in the UK to give tax-free gifts to anyone of up to £3,000 in a year. There are also tax-exemption rules in tax inheritance law on cash and estate gifts, where the tax owed is mainly determined by your relationship with the recipient.

My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.