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UK Tax Implications

While there is no tax on lottery winnings in the UK, there are a number of important considerations to keep in mind if you are lucky enough to bank a substantial amount such as a EuroMillions jackpot.

Inheritance Tax

Inheritance tax (IHT) is paid when a UK resident dies and their estate is worth more than £325,000. Everything above that threshold will be taxed at 40 percent. If you win a large EuroMillions prize and your estate exceeds the £325,000 valuation, you should be aware of the rules regarding IHT and how it will affect your heirs.

It is very common for big winners to want to share their jackpot in some way, but if you want to make a gift without paying tax you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Give the gift more than seven years before you die.
  • Give the gift to your husband, wife, or civil partner.
  • Give less than your annual allowance of £3,000.

The seven-year rule is in place to stop people from giving money away just before they die so that they can avoid IHT. As long as you live for at least seven years after making your gift, you can give as much as you want to whoever you want without it being liable for IHT.

If you were to die within seven years, the recipient would have to pay IHT based on a sliding scale. The rate of tax is the full 40% if there are less than three years between you giving your gift and dying, and then it goes down to 32% in years three to four, 24% in years four to five, 16% in years five to six and 8% if there are between six and seven years between your gift and your death.

Any gifts made to your spouse or civil partner are exempt from IHT, so it would not matter if you died within seven years. You can also give gifts to any registered charity without being liable for tax, along with some national organisations, such as the National Trust, universities or museums.

You can also take advantage of the £3,000 ‘gift allowance’ each year without incurring IHT. If you give away more than this amount and pass away within seven years, the recipient would have to pay tax. It is possible to carry over your leftover allowance from one tax year to the next, but only up to a maximum of £6,000.

Other Tax-free Gifts

You can also give smaller gifts of up to £250 to as many people as you want without them being subject to IHT, although this would not include anyone who has already received gifts totalling the whole £3,000 annual exemption.

Wedding gifts can also be exempt from IHT, but only if they are made before the wedding and there has to be proof that the marriage does go ahead. You can make wedding gifts of up to £5,000 to a child, £2,500 to a grandchild or great-grandchild or £1,000 to anyone else. You can also make gifts to help pay the living costs of an ex-spouse, an elderly dependent or a child.

Syndicates

Lottery rules in the UK stipulate that only one person can be paid a prize, so when playing in a syndicate it is essential to have a formal agreement in place to show to tax authorities. This will prove the money was not just a gift and that everyone is entitled to their share. Anyone playing in an informal syndicate should be aware that they may have to pay inheritance tax on the full amount if the syndicate leader dies within seven years of the prize money being shared.

Tax on Interest

Most people can earn some interest from their savings without paying tax, but this might not be the case if you win a large enough EuroMillions prize. While there is no tax on the initial sum paid into your account, it may be that the win starts to produce an income through interest. This will then be taxed as part of your normal income tax.

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