King Charles will not pay tax on the fortune he has inherited from the late Queen, although he has volunteered to follow his mother’s lead in paying income tax.
Under a clause agreed in 1993 by the then prime minister, John Major, any inheritance passed “sovereign to sovereign” avoids the 40% levy applied to assets valued at more than £325,000.
The crown estate has an estimated £15.2bn in assets, of which 25% of the profits are given to the royal family as the sovereign grant. The estate includes the royal archives and the royal collection of paintings, which are held by the monarch “in right of the crown”.
These assets cannot be sold by the King and they are in effect surrendered to the government in return for a grant. The government’s guidance concludes that it would therefore be “inappropriate for inheritance tax to be paid in respect of such assets”.
Separately, Charles also inherits from the Queen the Duchy of Lancaster, a private estate that includes portfolio of lands, properties and assets held in trust for the sovereign.
He is exempt from inheritance tax on these assets, among others, in order to preserve “a degree of financial independence from the government of the day”.
The government guidance adds: “The monarchy as an institution needs sufficient private resources to enable it to continue to perform its traditional role in national life.”
The 1993 clause agreed by Major also exempts inheritance passed from the consort of a former sovereign to a sovereign. It was last used on the death of the Queen Mother in 2002, when she left her estimated £70m fortune including a Fabergé egg collection, to the Queen, her only surviving daughter.
Anyone other than King Charles inheriting private assets from the Queen will have to pay inheritance tax. The guidance states: “In relation to assets which can properly be regarded as private, the arrangements provide that inheritance tax will not be paid on gifts of bequests from one sovereign to the next, but will be payable on gifts and bequests to anyone else.”
The monarch is furthermore not legally liable to pay income tax, capital gains tax or inheritance tax. There was public pressure over the cost of the monarchy in the early 1990s, however, and questions were raised as to who would pay the bill for repairing Windsor Castle after it was severely damaged by a fire.
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An announcement was made in 1992 that the Queen would voluntarily pay income tax the following year, and Charles stated when he was Prince of Wales that he would emulate his mother.
The Duchy of Lancaster estate, the Queen’s main source of wealth, made close to £22m in revenue in 2021.
This content was originally published here.