It is no secret that I am no lover of taxes. I can understand that there is a certain requirement for the good citizens of a country to make a contribution to the expenses of certain services and amenities provided by the state. However more often than not the fiscal machine starts levying taxes on all and sundry without any direct relevance between payment and services.
Recently I experienced a particularly sickening form of taxation. These come in the form of inheritance taxes and death duties. This was all because unfortunately my father passed away less than two weeks ago. On top of the loss of her husband my mother was forced to deal with an enormous amount of paperwork. She lives in Belgium and I know from experience that this country is a bureaucrats paradise. Absolute silly stuff happens when a spouse dies; bank accounts are frozen, cars require new license plates, car insurance becomes invalid etc etc.
However the worst thing are the spate of inheritance taxes and death duties invoked. Not only does my mother have to pay tax on any monies they had in shared bank accounts, she also has to pay taxes and duties their properties, the family car and to top it all of the house contents!
Taxation like this is obscene in my opinion. Apart from being inconsiderate of the loss incurred by the surviving partner it leads to a multiplication of taxes. Let me paint a picture for you. My parent ran their own business for 30 years, they worked hard and kept it going through thick and thin. They paid all their bills and provided employment for a number of people. They also paid tax on every penny they earned. When they spend any of their income they more often than not paid VAT (BTW or sales tax), any money they saved in a bank account were subject to taxation on the little bit of intrest. When they sold their business after 30 years they were hit by a substantial tax bill over the “added value” of the business as the tax man called it.
That makes 4 times that the fruits of their labour were taxed…
They then retired but were still subject to taxes on the interest received over their savings. Now that my father passed away EVERYTHING that they own is taxed again. Their savings, their properties, their car right down to the bed that they slept in!
I am sure that when my mother shakes of her mortal coil eventually (and let that be a long, long time from now) that there will be a tax bill for me to pay if I inherit anything. Quite honestly I hope my mother spends it all before then!