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This week's opinion

05 September 2017
Issue: 4614 / Categories: Comment & Analysis

A little knowledge…

Attempts by some of the media to create a story out of Bruce Forsyth’s apparent decision to leave all his wealth to his wife seem to mark a low point in the way tax matters are reported. If leaving your estate to your spouse is tax avoidance what isn’t? The exemption is a fundamental part of the inheritance tax system and is there for a reason. Without it spouses would be faced with the prospect of selling the family home to meet the liability on the first death. That was a problem in the estate duty era until a limited form of relief was introduced in 1972. So using the spousal exemption is not avoidance: it is the natural order of things. Of course Sir Bruce could have written a different will. He could have left everything to charity or a political party or to his...

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