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Neil Mackenzie

Death Duties

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Neil Mackenzie

I know that Death Duty/Estate Duty was in force at the outbreak of war but was it applied on the estates of families who lost men in the War and if the father died and then the eldest son was it applied more than once?

This is something I should know - but don't.

Many thanks

Neil

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centurion

Yes without mercy and there are cases where a father and two sons died and it was applied three times in quick succession. A good example is the Collings-Wells family who owned a large estate in and around Aley Green and Caddington on the Bedfordshire/Hertfordshire border. A series of such deaths (one of which was a posthumous VC) ruined the family and the estate had to be broken up to pay death duties. Lloyd George saw it as a means of breaking the power of the aristocracy.

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Neil Mackenzie

Thanks Robert

Can you imagine the outcry if that happened today!

Neil

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David Filsell

Was there and outcry - and did the same apply in WW2?

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keithmroberts

I'm sure that I have read that the period immediately after the war saw massive changes in land ownership, partly due to death duties, and partly due to the number of landed families that ran out of heirs.

Keith

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centurion

m

Thanks Robert

Can you imagine the outcry if that happened today!

Neil

Today deaths in action are exempted from Death Duties - I think (but am not sure) that this was brought in by Churchill in WW2. The deeds of the house I owned in Aley Green show that it was built on land once part of the Collings-Wells estates. The family was popular in the area and the more so after the posthumus VC and, yes, there were mutterings but the area had never voted Liberal anyway and LlG didn't give a ****

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dycer

An example.

My Relative's Account(killed in action 22 March 1918, no known grave) was finalized on 21st November 1928.

His gross Estate,settled in Scotland, totalled £84-8s-2d and was shared among his Brother and two Sisters.

However, an amount of £1-18s-10d was deducted from the gross amount to pay Estate Duty plus interest due from 1st May 1918 until date of finalization.

There were further deductions from the gross amount for premium on Bond of Caution,stamping of Bond of Caution,dues of Confirmation plus Solicitor's Business Charges.

George

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Neil Mackenzie

Thanks for the updates everyone.

Neil

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David_Underdown

There was some relief from some taxes associated with estates for deaths in action (I forget the exact details, Christie Campbell touches on it in Band of Brigands where an officer committed suicide and it took some time for the War Office to concede, grudgingly, that the death could be considered to be due to service for the purposes of the Inland Revenue).

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MrSwan

I'm chasing up a reference to the 1914 Finance Act and the 1914 Death Duties (Killed in Action) Act. I've found some Hansard records which suggest that, at least for the lower ranks (working class), there might have been a threshold below which the duty was not charged.

The 1915 Finance Act mentions something about not having double duty ie where a son inherits from his father, gets KIA and leaves his estate to mother. It's all in legalese but I'm seeing a legal type on Weds so hopefully clarification/resolution either way.

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centurion

I'm chasing up a reference to the 1914 Finance Act and the 1914 Death Duties (Killed in Action) Act. I've found some Hansard records which suggest that, at least for the lower ranks (working class), there might have been a threshold below which the duty was not charged.

The 1915 Finance Act mentions something about not having double duty ie where a son inherits from his father, gets KIA and leaves his estate to mother. It's all in legalese but I'm seeing a legal type on Weds so hopefully clarification/resolution either way.

From 1852 (or thereabouts) the estate of any "common soldier" who died in service from any cause was not liable to inheritance tax itself. There was considerable argument in the courts from time to time as to what constituted a common soldier (ie did WOs count?) and, for example, it was judged in WW2 that a Home Guard private was not a common soldier. For some reason the whole of the RAF was exempted in 1918. Officers being gentlemen were by definition not common but I believe that a wife could inherit the full estate tax free from a husband KIA or DOW. I understand the law was changed in 1944 and based purely on the value of the estate with relief for those killed in action. New Zealand changed its tax rules early to avoid farms passing out of family ownership.

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dycer

In the example I have quoted above..Gross Estate £84-8s-2d.

Rank at time of death was Sergeant and his Estate comprised a Post Office Bonus and Supplementary Gratuity.He was a pre-War Postman.

The breakdown of the Estate Duty.Estate Duty £1-10s. Interest from 1 May 1918 to 25 October 1928 £0-8s-10d.

George

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Neil Mackenzie

Thanks everyone for your contributions.

Neil

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andygrain@aol.com

This is a complex issue about which I am researching an article. I'll post details when it is published in the summer.

Andy Grainger

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Neil Mackenzie

A typically bureaucratic solution to the problem. Instead of making all death duty exempt they introduce a process that is way more complicated than it needs to be!

Neil

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andygrain@aol.com

Here is a link to an article I have written on Death Duties (Killed in War exemption) for the Christie's Bulletin for Professional Advisers Summer 2014. The issue has a Great War theme. http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/21701327#/21701327/1. It's a complex subject and, as Perth Digger says, it became incredibly complicated. Only in 1952 was a blanket exemption given for those who died in the service of their country and even now it is not entirely complete.

It is worth bearing in mind however that the divisions between rich and poor in Edwardian England were even greater than they are now and in the early part of the 20th century it was felt that the very wealthy should pay a small though growing share of their capital. This did not really get going until the inter-war period but had some of the social effects discussed above aggravated by an overall rise in wages and prices of about 25% (I think) by 1918. We tend to think of the Second World War as a greater economic drain on Britain than the First - perhaps it was. The fact remains that both in the preparation for and the conduct of the Great War Britain poured out treasure and then blood on a massive and unprecedented scale. The war had to be fought but it also had to be paid for.

Andy Grainger

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Perth Digger

Hi Andy

Thanks for the link. It's a very interesting topic that you've set out very clearly. The Trust and gift 7 years before death details help explain the demise of one landed family I've looked at.

Mike

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