§ SIR JOHN KENNAWAY (Devon, Honiton)
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether he is aware that the Commissioners of Inland Revenue have reversed their Rule observed for 30 years past, of exempting the Church Missionary Society, and other like Societies, from payment of Income Tax; whether he is aware that the Law Officers of the Crown, in 1856, gave their opinion that the funds of Charities, such as the Church Missionary Society, are exempt from Income Tax, and that a Minute was issued by the Treasury on September 30, 1863, to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue to give effect to such opinion; and, whether he will lay a Copy of the said Minute upon the Table?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
The refusal of the Special Commissioners of Income Tax to allow the claim of the Church Missionary Society to repayment of Income Tax is in accordance with the principles laid down in a recent judicial decision in Scotland. Notice of appeal has, however, been given against that decision. I think the hon. Baronet is under some misapprehension as to the nature of the Law Officers' opinion of 1856 and the Treasury Minute of 1863. The point then raised was not whether a Missionary Society was a Charity, and, as such, entitled to repayment of Income Tax, but whether a Trust for parochial purposes, the income of which went in relief of rates, was a Charity and entitled to repayment. The decision was in the negative; but I do not suppose that after this explanation the hon. Baronet will wish me to lay the Minute upon the Table, though he is welcome to see it if he wishes.