More stealth taxes on the cards

MPs who rubber-stamped a huge increase in probate fees have been accused of imposing a “death tax” on bereaved families by stealth, forcing families to pay up to £6,000 when a loved one dies. The controversial price hikes, that will see almost 300,000 families a year face larger probate bills from April, avoided full parliamentary scrutiny thanks to a loophole. Members of the delegated legislation committee agreed with the Ministry of Justice’s view that the mandatory probate charge was a fee for the provision of services rather than a tax. A tax rise would have to be included in the Finance Bill and debated and voted on in Parliament, but fee increase does not have to go before the Commons.

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