HC Deb 25 July 1881 vol 263 cc1749-50

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether his attention has been called to a circular issued to bankers in the year 1871 by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, reminding them that cheques drawn on behalf of Benefit Building Societies on their bankers were liable to stamp duty like other cheques; to the words of section 41 of "The Building Societies Act, 1874," by which it is enacted that no order on any officer for payment of money to any member.….shall be liable to or charged with any stamp duty or duties whatsoever; to the fact that the Commissioners still insist upon the view expressed in their circular of 1871, and refuse to regard the Act of 1874 as an enlargement, including cheques, of the exemptions previously in force; whether he is aware that since 1874 it has been, and still is, the invariable practice of many Building Societies, relying upon the words of section 41, to issue unstamped cheques or orders on their bankers in favour of their members; that in other cases bankers refuse to pay money upon unstamped orders; and that, owing to there being no authority upon the construction of section 41, except the opinion of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, great uncertainty exists as to the Law; and, whether, considering the importance of the interests thus subjected to inconvenience, he will direct the Commissioners of Inland Revenue to admit these cheques or orders as within the exemption from stamp duty, or else will introduce a Bill to amend the Act of 1874 in this sense?


, in reply, said, this was a Question with regard to the state of the facts of the present law. He was given to understand that a Circular was issued in 1871, which was a correct statement of the law at that time, and continued to be a correct statement of the law. The Act of 1874 relating to Building Societies did not confer any exemption from stamp duty on cheques; and, consequently, there was no necessity to modify this Circular. The Board of Inland Revenue were not aware it was the practice of bankers to pay drafts of that description without stamps. There had been no necessity to take steps to enforce the law, because no case had been brought before them.