13 Sep 2022
Composed on the news that the Queen's "Private Wealth" is exempt from inheritance tax when it passes to King Charles III.
We're not talking about inheritance tax on palaces, crown jewels, state carriages — we're talking about the Queen's wealth described in the media as "private" or "personal", which includes:
- The Duchy of Lancaster
- The Sandringham Estate
- The Balmoral Estate
We don't even know the value of these assets, but they probably total hundreds of millions of pounds.
Let's say, for the purpose of illustration, it's a nice round £100 million. If this inheritance was taxed at 40% as it would be for any other citizen, Charles would be left with £60 million.
Allowing him the full £100 million instead of the £60 million is in effect a 67% subsidy on his already eyewatering wealth — in addition to the tax-free sovereign grant.
And with every generation of monarchs, this effective 67% subsidy is repeated over and over. We can safely assume, in the absence of signifcant breakthroughs in medical science, that King Charles III will not reign as long as his mother, and when the crown passes, this taxbreak/subsidy will be repeated.
Thought of in these terms, it doesn't seem so "private" anymore seeing it is subject to an unprecedented tax break!
Time to reform the monarchy, scale them back to a truly symbolic role which doesn't allow them to amend legislation for their own benefit, or avoid paying reasonable taxes. The "gentleman's agreement" whereby the monarch voluntarily pays tax needs to be formalised.
We also need to be able to look to them for moral leadership — and not in the symbolic Defender of the Faith sense. When a senior member of the "firm" is wanted for questioning by law enforcement from a foreign ally, they should co-operate and face the consequences of their actions, rather than use their wealth and privilege to hide and protect themselves, ultimately paying an eight figure sum in an attempt to make the issue go away.