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Too sisterly

01 May 2008
Categories: Tax cases
Burden and another v UK, European Court of Human Rights, 29 April 2008

The much publicised case of the two elderly sisters who claimed the inheritance tax regime discriminated against them because they were sisters living together was heard in the European Court of Human Rights on 29 April 2008.

The sisters were born in 1918 and 1925 respectively. They have lived together all their lives in a house which they inherited from their parents. They own the property in joint names. The value of the house means that each sister's one-half share is worth more than the current inheritance tax exemption.

The sisters complained to the ECHR that they were begin discriminated against under articles 1 and 14 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights in that when one of them died the survivor would have to pay significant inheritance tax which would not be faced by the survivor of a marriage or a civil...

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