A husbands obligation to maintain his wife ends with his death. He has absolute 27 power to disposo of all his property and leave his wife destitute. Similarly a wealthy wife is mistress of her fortune and can, if she wish, ignore her husband altogether. It is different if either party should die without making a will, for it is provided by the Administration of Estates Act, 1925, that in such circumstances the widow or widower shall tako (1) all personal chattels absolutely (these include furniture, plate, pictures and household effects); (2) £1,000 free of death duties with 5 per cent, interest from the day of death; and (3) the income from the rest of the estate for life if the husband or wife leaves no issue or one-half of such income if there be issue. Income-Tax A husband is liable to pay income-tax on his wifes income and cannot claim against her separate estate in respect of her income. Where husband and wife live together her profits are deemed to be his profits, and therefore the assessment is made upon him. Tax is payable on the joint income subject to relief (at the time of writing £150), and if the wifes or husbands income is earned a further reduction (at present one-fifth) is allowed.
Living together is a phrase interpreted rather widely for income-tax purposes, and unless they are legally separated it matters not if they reside in different places. Where a request is made husband and wife will be assessed separately, a method sometimes adopted in the hope of securing a lower assessment. In actual practice it makes no difference, for no extra relief or deduction can be secured. Alimony payable under an order of the Divorce Division is taxable unless the order directs otherwise.