Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd March 1945.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether wives of men conducting a business or profession from their homes can receive payment for services rendered in answering telephones, taking messages, etc., which shall be treated as the wife's earned income for the purposes of Income Tax; and what is the maximum payment permitted before tax becomes payable.
The general rule of the Income Tax law is that no allowance is to be made for expenses which are not wholly and exclusively incurred for the purpose of the trade or profession, and the application of this rule depends upon the facts of the particular case. The decision in any particular case rests ultimately with the appropriate appellate tribunal, but, speaking for myself, I may say that I would not regard a wife as an employee merely because she answered her husband's telephone calls or took his messages.
In view of the right hon. Gentleman's answer, could he explain to me why the British Medical Association have informed the doctors in this House in their organ, the "British Medical Journal," that they are entitled to remunerate their wives for services rendered in connection with the practice, up to £89 with exemption from Income Tax?
I take no responsibility for the actions of the British Medical Council.