§ Commander BELLAIRS
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what special privileges in respect of taxation, Stamp Duties, etc., attach to the wills of officers and men dying on active service in war, and whether such privileges can be extended to the mercantile marine in view of the extraordinary circumstances of the War?
§ Mr. McKENNA
In the case of officers and men killed in the present War, there is exemption from all Death Duties in respect of the first £5,000 worth of property which passes to the widow or to lineal relations, and as to any excess over £o,000 which passes to such persons the duty is discounted for a period equal to the normal expectation of life of the deceased at the time of his death. The expression "killed" applies to death within a year from wounds inflicted, accident occurring, or disease contracted, whilst on active service against the enemy, whether on sea or land. Where property passes on the successive deaths of persons killed in the War, it is not chargeable with duty on the second or subsequent deaths, whatever its value, or to whomsoever it then passes. In the case of a sailor not above the rank of petty officer, of a marine not above the rank of sergeant, or of a soldier not above the rank of corporal, his own property is not chargeable with Estate Duty (although it may be with. Legacy or Succession Duty),1348W to whomsoever it passes. As regards the latter part of the question, there are in this connection obvious and essential differences between the case of the mercantile marine and that of members of His Majesty's Forces.