Inheritance Tax, or the predicament of being middle class
There are others, of course, who hold different views. The attraction for people like this of IHT is precisely that, by taxing the cascade of wealth through the generations, a fairer society is reached. No inherited wealth can be regarded as earned, the argument goes, and therefore is undeserved and should be removed.
Personally I dislike all forms of taxation. This doesn't of course mean that I regard taxation as inherently immoral - merely that I dislike having money taken to pay for services that I don't use. This, fortunately, is not a position that I expect to be in for all that much longer. For it is an unfortunate fact that the tax system in the UK is now so complicated that only tax specialists and those who earn enough to afford them can understand. Nigel Lawson said, famously that taxes should be clear, low and compulsory. The current system is batting 0/3.
So the rich don't pay tax - or at least as much as they might if they didn't manage it. Instead they instruct lawyers and accountants to find ways through, ways both anticipated by the Treasury (such as increasing pension payments) and not.
These last run the gamut from the amusing to the desperately complex. Among the latter are the various offshore trusts so popular with the Labour Party, which are basically a vast game of pass the parcel. Among the former are such wheezes as forming a company in order to pay your nanny, thus avoiding paying so much NI by using the small companies tax break - Whoopee!
None of these schemes last long - but they don't have to, another one will soon be along. The reason for this is simple. There is a battle of minds between Treasury lawyers and City lawyers, and the ones in the City are cleverer and work harder. They also care more - they have to earn their money - and will therefore always find holes in a tax structure as mind-bogglingly complicated as this one.
So the only people who end up paying the full whack of tax are those who can't afford a tax adviser. These days, since it's become damn near impossible to fill in a tax return without consulting someone, this basically means the middle classes, especially since the threshold is only £325,000 these days - the price of a two-bed flat in London.