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Easter Offerings (Taxation)

Volume 389: debated on Tuesday 4 May 1943

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether all Easter offerings to parish priests and ministers by their congregations are subjected to Income Tax; and whether he will consider exempting gifts of this nature from tax in future?

The taxation of Easter offerings is based upon the decision of the House of Lords given in 1908 in the case of Cooper v. Blakiston, in which it was held that Easter offerings to a vicar were assessable as emoluments of his office. I do not see my way to propose relief from the ordinary operation of the Income Tax law in this matter. I would remind my hon. Friend that the Royal Commission on the Income Tax considered this question and were unable to recommend any concession; and that proposals for the exemption of Easter offerings have been made in this House on several occasions during Finance Bill Debates and have invariably been rejected.

Will the right hon. Gentleman allow the House to have a free vote on this matter?