HC Deb 04 March 1912 vol 35 cc154-5W

asked the Chancellor whether he is aware that it is the practice of the Inland Eevenue authorities in Ireland to demand a Stamp Duty of £3 on each exercise of the civic compliment, popularly known as conferring the freedom of the city or borough; whether these said authorities rely on any judicial decision that such duty is payable in such circumstances; if so, whether he will supply the reference to such decision; and, if not, whether he can state on what grounds these authorities rely in order to outweigh the principle that expressions in a taxing statute must receive a strict construction, and to render the purely honorary admission, described as honorary burgess in Section 11 of the Municipal Privileges (Ireland) Act, 1876, taxable under the heading of admission as burgess, or into any corporation or company in any city, borough, or town corporate in the Schedule to the Stamp Act, 1891?


The practice is as stated in the first part of the question, except that no claim for Stamp Duty is made on the admission where the recipient of the distinction is, at the date of his admission, already an enrolled burgess of the particular borough. The claim is made on the authority of Section 1 and the First Schedule of the Stamp Act, 1891, which imposes a duty of £3 on the admission in Ireland of any person as a burgess, or into any corporation, in any borough upon any other ground than birth, apprenticeship or marriage, or being engaged in any trade, mystery, or handicraft. I am advised that the ceremonial admission of a person to be honorary burgess of a borough of which he was not previously a burgess is chargeable with the duty of £3 under this head. The question of liability has not been the subject of a legal decision.