The controversy over the new probate fee increase doesn’t seem to be going away.

After the new fee structure was referred to as a “tax” by the government in a new report, a new debate has been sparked.

Previously, ministers had referred to the probate increase as a fee rather than a tax, and by doing so, this allowed them to implement the change without a debate in Parliament.

But in a report that accompanied the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said the Treasury is expecting the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to classify probate fees as “tax on capital rather than a payment for a service.”

If the probate fees are a tax then it will mean they will add to receipts and spending equally, whereas payments for services are treated as negative spending and are factored into the Ministry of Justice’s resource departmental expenditure limit budget.

However, a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “This is not a tax – and any decision by the ONS to define it as such would be purely for accounting purposes. The income raised from probate fees will go towards funding a more efficient and effective courts and tribunals system.”

We spoke about the proposed rise in probate fees recently and outlined what it would mean for those dealing with a deceased’s estate.

At Get Probate, we think the increase in fees is unfair. We believe that the cost of the Grant of Probate should be the same, regardless of the value of the estate – as there is no additional work that has to be done for a Grant of Probate on a larger estate.

Help with probate

If you need help with any probate-related matter, just get in touch with the team at Get Probate (0161 907 4044).

Our team of authorised non-contentious probate practitioners, provide a quick, easy and low-cost service throughout England and Wales.