Wednesday, 23 April 1958
Dáil Éireann Debate
(b) rendering a woman, her trustee, guardian, curator or committee, or her executors or administrators, liable in certain cases for amounts of unpaid income tax or sur-tax assessed on her husband, his trustee, guardian, curator or committee, or his executors or administrators.
As the law stands, if a husband and wife make an application, they may get separate assessment, but if they make no application, the husband is assessed and must pay. I think he would be assessed in any case, but he must pay. There are difficulties in that, because sometimes the husband may have very little, and if the husband says: “I have no money; I cannot pay,” we are out. Also, if the wife dies leaving a fairly substantial estate and there is an amount owing by the husband, at the moment, he must pay, even though her estate goes to somebody else. These two matters are being made right in the Finance Bill. That means the Revenue Commissioners will assess the husband as they have been doing, but they may proceed against the wife, if they find out the husband has no goods and that the wife has. Secondly, it will enable the husband, if his wife is dead, to direct that the bill be sent on to the wife's estate and then he will have no more to do with it.
Mr. Norton: May I raise one matter, in the hope that the Minister may be able to say something on it between now and the Finance Bill? For quite  a considerable time, there has been agitation, which was apparently successful in England recently, dealing with the problem of where a man and wife travelling together are involved in an accident, for instance. Under the man's will, the wife is the beneficiary. Say they are both killed in the accident. When the man is killed the estate automatically passes to his wife. The wife is also injured in the accident and she dies on the following day. Under the present income-tax code, income-tax can be levied on his estate. He is dead, but under his will his property passes to his widow, but the widow having dies the following day, her estate has to pay also——
Dr. Ryan: I saw that the British Chancellor of the Exchequer brought it into the last Budget. We have not given close consideration to it here, but I will be able to give an answer at least on the Finance Bill when it comes along.
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