asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether any gifts of money which may be sent direct or handed to a vicar at Eastertide should be regarded as forming part of the Easter offering, the amount of which is often publicly announced and, therefore, are subject to Income Tax as are contributions to the Easter offering made either through a churchwarden or placed in the collection bags; whether such direct gifts of money to a vicar made at any other time of the year. are subject to Income Tax, as are fees and other moneys which form part of his stipend; and what conditions regarding Income Tax liability apply to a Whitsun offering paid over to an assistant clergyman?
I am advised that the taxation liability of Easter offerings is not affected by the circumstance that the money may be handed to the vicar direct instead of being placed in the collection or given through a churchwarden. I would remind my hon. Friend that the Easter offerings which were considered in the leading case of Cooper v. Blakiston included sums. given in all three of these ways, and the decision Of the House of Lords drew no distinction between them. Any other gifts to a clergyman which accrued by virtue of his ministry would similarly be taxable. As regards the last part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the case of Slaney v. Starkey ((1931), 2 K.B. 148), in which it was held that the proceeds of a voluntary collection made for an assistant curate at Whitsuntide were assessable to Income Tax as emoluments of his office.
Although I did not hear a word of his answer, I would ask my right hon. Friend to make it widely known that gifts to rectors and curates can be given as free gifts?
No, I should not like to say that.
Could not the churchwardens use the collection to supply the parson with free groceries which, being in kind, are not asessable?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Easter offerings do not accrue to an incumbent in virtue of his office, but in virtue of his personality?