Many call inheritance tax a voluntary tax, we’ll do well to understand their logic.
Polyglots assure me.
There’s a lack of predictability to this language.
They say as a matter of contrast, there are formulae to conjugations and usage in other languages. I must but accept their assurances. Notwithstanding, or perhaps because of this lack of rigidity, this tongue here we speak has a lyricism to be found in few others.
You might have observed a small, special, almost unique class of words that can be used to mean one thing or its exact opposite. Endorse and sanction come to mind.
It is with no slight confusion I relate something I did in the final month of the year just past. I’m uncertain if this act was the nadir or zenith of my year just past.
I had been, in February last, engaged by a bereaved family to administer an estate. So far, so ordinary.
One of my final acts in this assignment was on my high street. I visited a local bank to transfer £57,167.34 to HMRC. This payment was in settlement of the death duties due on the estate.
Render on To Caesar
Many recognize tax as the glue that binds us as society. Paying our tithes as they are due is one of our prime duties as citizens. Neither you nor I would want to live in a land in which no one paid tax. No one anywhere could make a case for paying more tax than one is bound by law to pay. We must render on to Caesar only his due.
I walked into the bank to make payment on the family’s behalf. I felt a vicarious pain for this family.
They were good people.
It pained me.
It hurt them.
If Angelo, the now deceased gentleman had taken the necessary steps, the tax due on this estate would have been forty-five pounds.
£45, hardly worth the effort of HMRC doing any manner of checking on this estate.
His family, two teenage girls who started at university, would have saved over fifty-seven thousand pounds. It would have taken Angelo no more than ten minutes. He would have signed his name three times.
Inheritance tax, death duties, estate taxes, call them as you would – they’re the most unnecessary of all taxes. For the sake of ten minutes and three signatures, Angelo’s daughters are condemned to tens of thousands of pounds in student debt. It’ true as they say, inheritance tax is a voluntary tax.
What would your family do with fifty-seven thousand pounds?