§ MR. HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If it is a fact that Chambers of Commerce are being assessed for duty upon their income, which is provided by voluntary contributions, in the interests of the trade and commerce of the country; and if, having regard to section 11, sub-section 6, of "The Customs and Inland Revenue Act, 1885," this is a legal or proper assessment?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
Under the Customs and Inland Revenue Act of 1885 a duty is levied—with certain exceptions—in respect of all real and personal property belonging to any body, corporate or incorporate; but it is not leviable if such property be acquired out of funds voluntarily contributed. It is held that annual subscriptions to Chambers of Commerce do not constitute property, real or personal, within the meaning of the Act; and, therefore, no duty is levied on Chambers of Commerce in respect of their income derived from such subscriptions. On the other hand, the subscriptions are not regarded as voluntary in the sense in which the word is used in the Act; and, consequently, in the few cases where the subscriptions have been invested in real or personal property, the income derived from such investment has been brought into assessment. A case involving the legal interpretation of the term "voluntary" is now pending in the Court of Queen's Bench, and a decision is shortly expected.