Schedule agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported, read the third time and passed.
DOMINION SUCCESSION DUTY ACT
Hon. DOUGLAS ABBOTT (Acting Minister. of Finance) moved the second reading of bill No. 373, to amend the Dominion Succession Duty Act.
Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and the house went into committee thereon, Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City) in the chair.
On section 1-Substituted first schedule.
I wish to bring to the attention of the minister a question in connection with a situation which arises frequently, particularly in respect of smaller estates where an executor designate or an applicant for administration finds it impossible, owing to financial difficulties, to make payment of succession duties even though there are moneys in the bank. I offer to the minister a suggestion which comes from two or three sources. One of these, Mr. H. E. Keown, K.C., is a bencher of the law society of Saskatchewan. If the suggestion made here were adopted it would help materially an executor designate or an applicant for administration. I shall read from the letter, because I feel it sets out the facts more clearly than I could hope to do:
Where there is a bank account the executor, after the application for letters probate or administration have been filed, is unable to issue a cheque until the necessary release is received from the dominion succession duty department. I take the position that succession duty due, either to the dominion or the province, is a first charge against the estate and should be paid.
My practice has been to have the executor or administrator issue a cheque on the bank account payable to the department, forward the cheque to the department asking them to send the necessary release to deposit with the bank and hold the cheque a day or two. However, it usually works out that the release has not been received by the time the cheque comes through and the bank then returns the cheque unpaid, which causes considerable inconvenience.
This gentleman suggests that in order to improve the process of collection of succession duties a change be made, either by amendment to the act or by regulation, whereby an executor or administrator could issue the necessary cheque for payment, either to the dominion or to the province, or to both, notwithstanding the fact that the release had not been received from the respective departments. I do not think there is anything in the suggestion which would interfere with the routine practice, and I believe it would be beneficial to executors designate and applicants for administration.
I thank the hon. member for his suggestion. It does sound like a matter which could be handled administratively, as he has suggested, without amendment to the law. I am not sufficiently familiar with the practice in the common law provinces to know what is done in connection with an executor designate. But in my own province we often do adopt a practice somewhat similar to the one suggested. We arrange with the provincial succession duties office to take a cheque in payment of succession duties, the cheque being issued on the bank account be-
fore complete returns have been filed, and before the general waivers have been issued. The practice there is to give authorization to the bank to pay that cheque. In some cases where preliminary returns can be filed, if it is thought desirable to do so they will even release some other assets.
I am pleased to have my hon. friend's suggestion. My colleague the Minister of National Revenue has followed it closely. The matter will be discussed with departmental officials to see whether or not it would be practicable to arrange the administrative regulations so as to permit what the hon. member has suggested.
liability for succession duties depends both upon the situs of the assets and the domicile of the deceased at the time of death. The estate of a man who dies in Ontario would be liable for succession duties on all assets wherever situate, both for dominion and for provincial succession duty purposes. He can take credit for certain duti'es paid abroad, I understand; and my colleague the Minister of National Revenue informs me that under the tax agreement with the United States the estate would be able to take credit for duties paid to the United States, thereby to some extent eliminating double succession duties.
The word "successor" is defined in the interpretation section of the Dominion Succession Duty Act, and I believe has been in the act since it was adopted. I have not given any special consideration from the legal point of view to the question whether the term is or is not appropriate. It is defined in paragraph (n) as follows: "'successor' means the person entitled under a succession." Then the word "succession" is defined at considerable length.
Has any effect been given to the suggestion made by the hon. member for Vancouver South on July 26, when the resolutions were being discussed, following which the minister said he would give the matter consideration? I cannot tell offhand from looking at the bill whether consideration has been given to it.