The Office for Tax Simplification (OTS) has published a number of recommendations for Government on simplifying the administration of inheritance tax (IHT).

This is the first of two reports, focusing on day-to-day matters of concern (for example, the sheer complexity of the forms which executors have to fill out). This is clearly an emotive subject, with a record 3,500 responses received to the OTS's call for evidence.

The report also touches on some of the issues raised by respondents to the consultation in relation to the complexity that surrounds agricultural property relief and business property relief.

From a business perspective, these are the critical issues in relation to IHT, and it is interesting to see that the OTS recognises some of the difficulties encountered in practice. Examples cited in this report include uncertainty over the treatment of some joint venture and partnership structures, or the problems that can arise when evaluating the trading and investment activities carried on by a group.

For groups looking to understand the future of business property relief, the key publication is likely to be the second OTS report on IHT (due in spring 2019). It is that report which the OTS says will comment on the design of the IHT system, including the reliefs, with the aim of supporting a debate about the wider simplification of IHT.