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Legal stamp duty is abolished

Minister dumps ‘unfair’ €60m droit de timbre that helped pay for legal aid system

STAMP duty of €35 is being abolished for people wanting to start legal proceedings in a move that will add €60million to the tax bill.

The move by Justice Minister Christiane Taubira is to get rid of “unfair” costs that, she said, were preventing people taking legal action. Anyone wanting to start a case had to pay the €35 droit de timbre. The change will come in 2014.

She said: “One would think it right that those involved in legal action help pay the costs of the legal system; but we need to ensure that this contribution is not unfair. And this stamp duty is unfair.”

The duty, which was imposed in 2011, helps finance the legal aid system for the less well-off, with the cut-off point for legal aid being a revenue of €929 a month.

Ms Taubira is looking for another means of funding legal aid but says that, until something is found, the €60m will come out of the taxpayer’s pocket. “This means that general taxpayers will pay the costs of the legal system and not just the person involved.”

Other funding options include a tax on legal protection insurance policies or on lawyers’ turnover.

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