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Death Duties

Volume 65: debated on Tuesday 21 July 1914

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the fact that his Department in Scotland charge, on the death of a husband, Death Duties on gifts made to a wife many years before the death of her husband, whereas in England they charge duty on such gifts made only within three years; is he aware that dissatisfaction exists in Scotland with this inequality; and will he see it remedied in this Budget?

I would point out to my hon. Friend that the law of Scotland gives a husband power to revoke at any time a donation made by him to his wife. In view of this power, the donation forms part of the property of which the husband is at the time of his death competent to dispose within the meaning of the Finance Act, 1894, and is thus chargeable with Estate Duty on his death. In England, Wales and Ireland a revocable donation would also be chargeable with Estate Duty on the death of the donor, and accordingly I see no reason for initiating legislation in the matter.

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to say that there is no possibility of giving a gift to a wife in Scotland without paying Death Duties on it; if so, ought that not to be altered very promptly?