HC Deb 17 February 1876 vol 227 cc400-1

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether his attention has been directed to more than one prosecution recently carried on at the instance of the Board of Inland Revenue or its officers, whereby certain persons employing boys for the casual services of boot and knife cleaning have been brought before various benches of magistrates and fined for not entering such boys (many of whom go regularly to school) as men servants for whom payment to the Revenue should be made; and, whether he will take some steps either immediately or during the coming financial year to stop such practice on the part of the Board and its officers?


, in reply, said, he had heard complaints as to the prosecutions against persons for employing boys for the casaul services of boot and knife cleaning and not entering them as men servants. He had made inquiries of the Board of Inland Revenue, and was informed that the Board did not consider the employment of boys for casual services in knife and boot cleaning—who jobbed their services to several employers—was liable to be taxed. The prosecutions which had taken place were in cases where a boy was regularly employed by a single employer in domestic duties. Such employment the Board considered did render the employer liable, because the law distinctly defined the term "male servant," not "man servant," to mean any male servant employed, either wholly or partially, in specified domestic affairs. The Board felt that in face of that definition they would be neglecting their duty if they did not collect in the ordinary manner this tax which Parliament had imposed. The fact that the persons prosecuted were fined proved that the Commissioners were merely carrying out, and not exceeding the law. In old time there was a limit of age, but this became a fruitful source of evasion, and it was omitted when the present licence duty was imposed in 1869.