asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of the confusion caused in the public mind by recent announcements concerning the liability to tax of Christmas gifts and bonuses in kind, cash and savings certificates, whether he will make a statement elucidating the position.
Christmas bonuses paid to employees are liable to Income Tax, whether payment is made in cash or in something such as savings certificates, which can be turned into cash. Where, however, an employer makes Christmas gifts of goods to his subordinate employees the value of the goods is not treated as taxable remuneration: and in cases where it has been customary for an employer to make such gifts in kind but, because of war conditions, he decides to substitute gifts of equivalent value in the form of savings certificates, savings stamps, National Savings gift tokens or direct credits to savings bank accounts of the employees, the value of the gifts so made is not treated for Income Tax purposes as income of the recipients.
There has been no change, but there has been a certain misunderstanding of statements that have been made, and I am glad of the opportunity of clearing the matter up in the comprehensive reply I have just given.
Of course they are, but, as I have explained, this is in the nature of a very special concession of a limited character. If it were abused, one would have to consider withdrawing it.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that some businesses, especially family businesses, have been used to making presents, sometimes in the form of cash, to old and valued employees; and is it not hard if these are now to be charged with tax?
Can my right hon. Friend explain why it is that the bonus paid consistently throughout the year is not subject to tax, but that when it becomes a Christmas present it is subject to tax?
Is it not a fact that the allowances made by firms to employees in order that they shall purchase War Savings Certificates at reduced rates, allowances which in some cases have risen to 50 per cent. of the cost of certificates, are bonuses payable throughout the year?