HC Deb 12 September 1887 vol 321 cc281-2
MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)

for Mr. DEASY) (Mayo, W.) asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether his attention has been drawn to a ease in Ireland where the Commissioners of Inland Revenue have demanded Legacy Duty, after the lapse of about 50 years; whether it is alleged that the duty was paid in 1840; and, whether, having regard to the fact that nearly half a century has passed since the death of the testator upon whose property it is sought to recover Succession Duty, and to the statement that this charge was long since met, he will direct that no further proceedings be taken by the Commissioners?


There has been a case in Ireland where the Commissioners of Inland Revenue have recently demanded Legacy Duty which became due and payable upwards of 40 years ago. It is alleged that the duty was paid in 1840. The facts are those:—In 1840 a person died, leaving by will property to her sister for life, and afterwards to nephews and nieces. The duty on the sister's life interest was paid. On her death, in 1846, duty became payable on the gifts to the nephews and nieces, and it was for the executor of the will of the first-mentioned person to pay it. This he omitted to do. Application was not at the time made by the Department, as they were without information with regard to the sister's death. That information was only obtained at the beginning of this year, when a claim was at once made upon the representative of the executor who should have paid the duty. The money has been due to the Revenue for some 40 years, with interest. Directions cannot be given that no further proceedings be taken for the duty so long overdue; but, under the circumstances, the claim for interest will not be pressed.

MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

asked would the right hon. Gentleman consider whether he ought not to apply the Statute of Limitations with regard to such, an old case as this?


said, there had always been considerable difficulty in ascertaining deaths which, involved the payment of Legacy Duty; and it had been the practice for some time past to go back a long way when duty had not been paid. He admitted that this was a very strong case; but, at the same time, he doubted whether in conformity with the ordinary practice and with safety to the Revenue, the claim could be waived.