18 DECEMBER 1909, Page 14


[TO THU EDITOR OS THE " Simon a."] SIR,—I have to thank you for complying in your issue of November 6th with my request for an article on the effect of the introduction of business contracts into family life. May I supplement my letter appearing in the same issue by pointing out that, in addition to the risks therein indicated as incident to dependence upon post-mortem remuneration by -will of services rendered inter vivos, there is a growing risk that testamentary dispositions may here- after be taxed to vanishing-point ?

Possibly because I allowed myself with "evident" but unconscious "pride" to indicate that the introduction of business princip!es into family life would be bad for the Inland Revenue, my letter seems to have started another hare. This I should not be concerned to follow had not Mr. R. Lucas rebuked me in your columns for evading my legal obligations as a, citizen by an unpatriotic device and subterfuge,—which, by the way, I submitted to Somerset House to know what stamps to affix to it. Your article on "Morality and Taxation" of November 20th seems a sufficient answer to this rebuke. But if I accept it, coming, as I presume it does—I argue myself as unknown as I am—from a very high authority, must not my housekeeper share the blame ? What right has she to contract for secured payment for her efficient services, and not to wait for the double chance of her surviving me and my will becoming effective in her favour in order that, if it should so become, she may have the patriotic satisfaction of paying Legacy-duty on what she has earned? Remember, I shall not pay, having carried nothing (taxable) away with me. And does not Mr. Lucas's under- standing of legal obligations go rather far? To act up to it, should the patriotic citizen buy undeveloped land and other- wise seek to incur taxation, and always vote for increasing State expenditure P I have one consolation under this rebuke in remembering that for many years, when my income was below the limit, I did not trouble to reclaim overpaid Income-tax. Now I can look back with melancholy satisfaction upon having once acted legally and patriotically,—a high estate ! from which I subsequently fell. - Vestigianulla retrorsten. Now I have got so far down as actually to meet a private (and just) claim in my lifetime.—I am, Sir, &c., COELEBS SENIOR. [We cannot continue this correspondence.—En. Spectator.]