§ 3.7 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, with the permission of the House I should like to make a personal statement to correct an inaccuracy in my reply to the question on Tuesday last of the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, about stamped receipts. I should have liked to make this correction yesterday, but as I had to attend a joint Council of Europe/O.E.E.C. meeting in Paris in the morning, I was not in your Lordships' House until after five o'clock. Your Lordships will remember that the question arose about the legal position of a person who is given an unstamped receipt for a payment of £2 or more, or who is refused a receipt for such a payment. In my reply I said that the person making the payment is under a legal obligation to report the matter to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue. That is not so.
The position is, that under Section 103 of the Stamp Act, 1891, a person who gives unstamped a receipt which ought to be stamped, or refuses to give such a receipt, is liable to a fine of £10. This fine is imposed under the Act, and the Commissioners of Inland Revenue take appropriate action to enforce it in any case which is reported to them. The person making the payment is, however, under no legal obligation to report to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue the fact that provisions of Section 103 have not been complied with, nor does he commit any offence in failing to do so. Receipts for amounts of under £2 do not have to be stamped. In addition, there are also a number of exemptions from Stamp Duty for receipts for amounts of £2 or more. Among these are receipts for wages and pensions. I will not weary your Lordships by reading out this list of exemptions, but if your Lordships agree I will have the list circulated with the OFFICIAL REPORT.
708 In order to complete the picture, I should perhaps mention that Section 102 of the Act contains provisions under which a receipt given without being stamped may be stamped with an impressed stamp within one month of the date on which it is given, subject to the payment of a penalty. I hope this statement will remove any unhappy consequences upon my reply on Tuesday evening.
§ Following is the List of Exemptions referred to: