Malvern Electorate

Allan Labor Government’s secret plan for death duties by stealth

Thursday 27 June 2024

Allan Labor Government’s secret plan for death duties by stealth

Victorians are set to be taxed beyond the grave by the Allan Labor Government with a new form of death duties to be imposed under the guise of massive increases to probate fees.

In a move that replicates death duties (abolished in Victoria in 1981), grieving families will now have to surrender a portion of their loved one’s estate to the Allan Labor Government based on the value of the estate.

While probate fees were previously set at a flat rate and capped for estates valued at $5 million or more at a fee of $2,318.90, Victorian families will now have to pay a probate fee based on a sliding scale up to $15,407.40; an increase of 564.4 per cent.

In New South Wales, the maximum probate fee is just $6,652.

For lower value estates, the fee increase is proportionally even higher. Estates valued between $250,000 and $500,000 will be forced to pay $514.40; an increase of 650 per cent for probate to be granted. This is hitting some of our most vulnerable families with a massive new Labor tax.

Victorians are already overpaying for the cost of probate services, with current fees recovering 305 per cent of the cost of running the Probate Office. Under Labor’s new fee hikes, this will jump to an outrageous 1086 per cent.

Victorians will pay 10 times more than the cost of probate services to account for budget cuts to Victorian courts in Labor’s latest budget. In 2024-25, the budget for Court Services Victoria has been slashed by $19.1 million.

Currently, probate services raise $13.1 million in fees. Under Labor’s massive increase, this will jump to $46.7 million; an increase of $33.6 million.

Shadow Attorney-General, Michael O’Brien, said: “This massive probate fee hike is nothing less than Labor re-introducing death duties by stealth.

“Labor cannot manage money and grieving Victorian families will pay the price at their most vulnerable time.

“Death duties were abolished in 1981 because they are unfair. People work hard and pay taxes all their life, they shouldn’t have to pay again after they die.

“Having to pay a proportion of a deceased estate to the Labor Government in order to obtain probate is an outrageous attack on bereaved widows and grieving children. This Labor Government should be ashamed of itself, but it shows just how badly they have mismanaged Victoria’s finances.

“Given the Assistant Treasurer is on the parliamentary record stating ‘My personal view is that death duties should be instituted’, it is clear the Labor Government is now doing just that.

“With current probate fees scheduled to continue until 2028, this is nothing more than a grubby cash-strapped Labor Government which can’t manage money.

“Not even dying is enough to save Victorians from Labor’s desperation for new taxes.”

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