§ Sir J. HARMOOD-BANNER
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether inquiries have been made, as promised, on the practice of the authorities at Somerset House of refusing to pass Inland Revenue affidavits and so making it impossible for 1504W executors to obtain a grant of probate and deal with the estate of a deceased person until the duty on whatever value the officials choose to put upon the property was paid; and, if so, whether, in the public interest, he will consider the desirbility of reverting to the previous practice of passing the papers for probate and raising the question of value afterwards; and whether he is aware that in a recent case the authorities have refused to accept the offer to agree upon a valuation of shares and debentures of a Liverpool company to be made by any member of the Liverpool Stock Exchange nominated by the authorities, and insist upon their own valuation, thereby preventing the administrator obtaining a grant except by paying duty upon a valuation which his brokers advise is too high?
§ Mr. McKENNA
The duty is payable by law upon delivery of the Inland Revenue affidavit and on the value of the property as estimated by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue. Experience has shown the existing practice of provisional examination before probate to be essential to the security of the revenue, while I am informed that no case has yet arisen where the value of a company's share insisted on before probate has subsequently been shown to be excessive.