Acceptance in Lieu

The starting point of all discussion on tax and laws is that laws must be predictable.
That no special laws must be made for any category of person.

Your family entered the 100-metre dash.
I yield to no one on the notion we should pay our taxes.
All our taxes.
All our taxes as they are due.
You might have heard of Oliver Wendell Holmes. Mr Holmes’s witticisms are the crispest encapsulation of the sentiment in all the essays, tomes and works on why we should meet our dues to our fellows. So, let’s talk of acceptance in lieu, they are the most cynical of all inheritance tax wheezes.

My mum’s sentiments were considerably less widely propagated than those of Mr Holmes’s. Nonetheless, my siblings and I were brought up to ‘have a little, give a little: have a lot, give a lot: give as is your due’.
At the risk of a dissolution of my popularity, I’ll go as far as to say taxation is the glue that binds us as a society. So, I’m in quest of an explanation of the reason there are special rules, exemptions and exclusions for the rich. A phrase comes to mind of which I’m sure you’ve heard: malefactors of great wealth.

Acceptance in Lieu: All Equal Before IHT Laws?

We are brought that all are equal before the law: but some laws were written to enrich some people.
Why are there such provisions on the books from which only those of great wealth may benefit?
Somebody, somewhere, please enlighten me.
Like mine, your family is in the 100-metre dash.

When Professor Stephen Hawking, died, the popular press reported his estate at fifteen million pounds. So, it was to teeny-weeny surprise that the late gentleman’s heirs commissioned an auction house to put a price on the great man’s papers.

Acceptance in Lieu: He Who Pays the Piper

It would be uncharitable to imply, any base motives to the valuers’ assignment. You’re scrupulous in your thinking. Your soul is the very embodiment of purity. Like all I know, you don’t see shadows where there are none. You see the good in everyone and in everything.

To impugn legally correct actions of anyone is beneath you. Your fairness of spirit rubs off on me.

The reason for the valuation: the family wanted to give the late professor’s papers to the nation – in lieu of inheritance tax. It’s remarkable they didn’t put the papers on the open market. Perhaps, in some nightmare the highest net value the market would place on these works would fall short of the amount that would have been due in death duties to HM Revenue. Why didn’t they keep the papers and write a cheque to the Revenue?

Acceptance in Lieu: Different Rules for The Rich

Here’s the thing, they were following the rules as they are. They’re breaking no laws. They’re breaching no legislation – the legislation was crafted especially for so they could fail to pay their due to the state.
Indeed, they were following the rules on acceptance of works of art in lieu of inheritance tax.

Acceptance in Lieu and Your Family

Like mine, your family entered the hundred the hundred metre dash.
Stephen Hawking’s family is running the hundred metre dash. But, somehow, your family was forced into the hundred metre hurdles. Only by the most myopic, selfish and criminally incompetent of interpretations by some who has as much affinity with track and field athletics as deep as a munchkin’s thimble would venture your family and Stephen Hawking’s were in the same race.

In sum the principle of acceptance in lieu of inheritance tax is clear case of laws specially crafted to allow rich folk escape the tax they should rightly have paid to the state.

What to Read Next: Inheritance Tax Changes

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