Inheritance Tax

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th January 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Conservative, North East Somerset 12:00 am, 16th January 2018

If he will bring forward legislative proposals in respect of the imposition of inheritance tax on direct personal donations to campaign groups involved in referendums.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

My hon. Friend will know that the inheritance tax exemption for donations to political parties does not exist for donations to referendum campaigns. However, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor and I have discussed the issues that my hon. Friend has raised in previous weeks, and we are sympathetic to looking carefully at how the law may be changed for future referendum campaigns.

Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Conservative, North East Somerset

In the past nine years, there have been 23 retroactive tax changes where there has been unfairness, error or unduly onerous taxation. When the law was drafted in 1994, there was no idea that there would be a succession of referendums. It is deeply unfair that people who have contributed to the alternative vote referendum, the referendum in Scotland and the Brexit referendum may find very large tax bills winging their way towards them, not least as Her Majesty’s Government spent £8 million of taxpayers’ money willy-nilly in the Brexit referendum.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

As a matter of principle, it is not the position of Her Majesty’s Treasury to apply tax changes retrospectively but, as I have indicated, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor and I will be looking carefully at the issues that my hon. Friend has raised.

Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith Conservative, Chingford and Woodford Green

Pursuant to that question, may I add one further caveat, given that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is beginning to look at all the other referendums that have taken place? Will it take into consideration those organisations that are not charities or political parties, but which do public good? They are beginning to be concerned that HMRC will pursue individuals who have made donations to them. Will my right hon. Friend take looking at that under his wing as well?

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

My right hon. Friend raises an interesting point. He might like to make specific representations to me on the matters he has raised. Indeed, if he wishes to meet me to discuss them, I would be very happy to do so.