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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14

The Legal Deed Duties

page 173

The Legal Deed Duties.

The heavy charges in Stamps on Leases, Conveyances, Agreements, and other legal documents, are here shown to produce about two millions per annum, or as much as an additional 1d. in the £ on the Income and Property Tax Schedules of the whole kingdom, and when it is remembered that 140,000 persons had to pay the £1,811,945, while ten times that number would contribute to a similar amount in Income Tax, it may be fairly pointed out that the unhappy 140,000 transferees of Land, Houses, &c., had to pay 10d. in the £ additional tax on their incomes, besides the 5d. in the £ which they parted with as payers of Income Tax. Now the Financial Reform Association strenuously asserts this to be an injustice and a hardship. Why should men be taxed for selling a house or a field when no tax is imposed for selling a ship or a bale of cotton goods? There is no basis of equity in such taxation, and the only class that can benefit from it are the close corporation of lawyers, whose charges (sufficiently exorbitant in all respects) are further aggravated by these Government Stamps on legal deeds. And this is not all, for some of the house property may change hands many times a year, and is taxed afresh every time it is transferred.