Real Life Tax Issues Raised by Downton Abbey

In this weeks latest episode of Downton Abbey (tv drama series) viewers are able to use the unfolding events surrounding Lord Grantham’s plans for his estate as a lesson in tax preparation.

A partner to a fan of the Downton Abbey series, Catherine Desmond, has recently written a blog which provides a modern-day commentary on the tax, financial and business decisions to be made by the Grantham family in their running of the Downton Abbey Estate.

In her most recent post she analyses episode 5 when the Granthams make decisions about whether to take farmland in-hand or move to a more modern tenancy arrangement.

At the end of last week’s episode, Lady Mary’s new house guest, Mr Napier, lets on that he has been asked by the government to look at the rural economy and the impact on landed estates after the war. Desmond speculates this could open up a storyline around the significant changes to legislation regarding agricultural tenancies introduced in the 1920s.

Desmond reportedly said: ‘I’ve followed Downton since it started, and it is extraordinary how much conversation and discussion in the household revolves around financial issues and tax. It has become increasingly evident that the issues faced by the Granthams on screen are also relevant today, not only to estate and rural business owners, but also to owners of family businesses more generally – albeit in a different historical context.’