I would like it scrapped - inheritance tax, that is - but despite this the "it's a tax on aspiration" or "attack on the middle class" arguments appear not to hold much water:
Of the roughly 560,000 deaths in 2009-10, inheritance tax was paid on the estates of just 14,600 — or 2.6 per cent.
And tax was paid on just 4,700 estates worth between £325,000 and £500,000 — each of which paid about £27,000 on average. In fact, 68 per cent of inheritance tax receipts came from estates worth £1 million or more.
The 14,600 estates that did pay inheritance tax were, on average, worth £875,000 (including £329,000 in residential property, £253,000 in securities and £190,000 in cash) and paid, on average, £163,000 — an effective tax rate of just under 19 per cent.
Why make it a big deal?