I noted something curious in yesterday’s new wealth statistics from the ONS.
Chapter 2 of their report says that in 2008/10 there was a UK stock of net wealth of property and financial assets after offset of associated liabilities (like mortgages) of £4,470 billion.
HMRC for the same period says, based on estates of those dying that the equivalent figure was £3,520 billion.
That’s a difference of £950 billion.
And therefore there’s £9 billion of inheritance tax being avoided through offshore.
Except, in the detail of the HMRC calculation:
Notes on the table
1. This table shows Identified Wealth, i.e. the wealth owned by estates represented by those passing through probate in each year, grossed up to that of the living using mortality rates
2. Not all estates require a grant of representation, and hence the identified wealth does not represent the entire population. For 2008-10, this covers 31% of estates.
HMRC isn’t even trying to estimate the total wealth.