“Inheritance tax should be abolished”: Moneywise readers have their say

9 August 2019

Each month we publish the best comments, emails and letters from our readers. Here are the best of July 2019

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“My word is my bond”

I ’m referring to the recent freezing of Mr Neil Woodford’s Equity Income Fund.

‘My word is my bond’ has been the motto of the London Stock Exchange since 1801, when agreements were made with no exchange of documents or written pledges given.

This was a time when London’s financial district was revered throughout the world.

We need to have those running our financial institutions behaving like gentlemen, treating each other with respect and thinking long term – not acting like ruthless salesmen who are more concerned with collecting fees, short-term results and social media approval.

I prefer a gentleman of integrity, quietly working behind the scenes to look after my money; not some flashy salesman craving attention and celebrity.

If customers do not have trust and confidence in a business, then eventually that business will collapse.

FH/via email

The Office of Tax Simplification proposed ideas this month to help make inheritance tax simpler and fairer. Moneywise readers also had their own ideas:

Given house price increases, particularly in the south-east, the threshold level should be much higher than £325,000. Many older people are caught in this trap just because of house price increases.

AL/via comments

Inheritance tax between parents and children should be abolished altogether. After all, we all strive for our children and what is wrong with that? I didn’t inherit anything from my parents but loved them all the same. I worked and saved hard so that I can leave something for my children.

What right does the taxman have to grab it from what I want to leave them? He has already taxed me on everything I have. No inheritance tax between parents and children – that’s the vote-winner!

CP/via comments

Some pointed to the unfairness of the exemptions:

I think single/divorced/childless people are discriminated against when it comes to the residence nil-rate band. I feel that they should be able to gift their property to other family members such as nieces, nephews or grandchildren, keeping it in the family as ‘spouses’ are able to!

AA/via comments

Some reader comments were downright mischievous:

If you simplify IHT then many solicitors will have less work. Is that what Parliament really wants?

SH/via comments

And finally, one reader produced a ditty on the subject:

Tax me on what I earn
Tax me on what I buy
Tax me on my stuff again when I die
Why not take the shirt off my back while you’re at it?

MA/via comments

Elsewhere, public opinion has clearly shifted against the BBC’s decision to make over-75s pay for TV Licences, with Age UK finding 75% of people backed continued exemptions for the elderly. Many readers shared their thoughts:

Reinstating a charge for TV for over-75s is just a stealth tax on the elderly. It will only go to the BBC but a large number of this age group watch other channels, some perhaps solely. Why should there be a charge for doing that?

The BBC ought to get back to its founding principle of being an informative public service – cutting fancy salaries to ‘star entertainers’ and management – and put those values before audience figures.

RV/via comments

I got married aged 22 (in 1968) and we got our first black-and-white TV a year later. I have been paying the TV Licence fee (plus income tax) for more than 50 years. I must have paid many thousands of pounds over the years. They now want to take this perk away from us.

And what do we get in return? Repeat after repeat after repeat programmes.

BB/via comments

But some were more reflective of how the situation came to be:

Remember that it was the Government that previously paid for these and unjustifiably loaded the costs on to the BBC. While I accept that some presenters are overpaid, I feel that slashing their salaries would do nothing to restore the benefit.

IS/via comments