§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN (Kilkenny)
On behalf of the honourable Member for the St. Patrick Division of Dublin, I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether the Civil Service and the Army and Navy Stores are treated on the same terms regarding income tax as the Scottish Wholesale Co-operative Society; whether private traders pay on the average a higher rate of income tax than is obtained from co-operative societies and Army and Navy and Civil Service stores; and whether the members of those stores only pay income tax on the 367 salaries of their officials who are in receipt of over £150 per annum?
§ MR. HANBURY
The Scottish Wholesale Co-operative Society is registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act, 1893, and under section 24 of that Act it is exempt from direct assessment to income tax. The Civil Service and the Army and Navy Stores are not registered under the Act, and their profits are directly assessed to income tax in the same way as those of ordinary trading companies. In both cases the income tax, whether directly or indirectly assessed, is assessed at the same rate in the £ as in the case of ordinary traders, and in both cases individual members whose incomes are below the income tax level obtain the exemption to which they are entitled under the ordinary law, the only difference being that in the one case the income tax is not levied upon such individuals, while in the other case it is levied and afterwards repaid. The position suggested in the last paragraph could not be true of any society trading for profit unless all its members' incomes were below £160 a year, in which case, of course, no member would be legally liable to the tax.