Skip to main content
Normal View

Seanad Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 5 Jul 1966

Vol. 61 No. 15

Finance Bill, 1966 (Certified Money Bill): Committee and Final Stages.

Question proposed: "That section 1 stand part of the Bill."

This section deals with the rate of income tax for this financial year. I notice that the Minister was under pressure in the Dáil in regard to the methods of the collection of income tax from certain Government employees. There have been complaints about the way in which people have got bills for income tax which have placed them in financial difficulties. I understand from the Minister's reply that he is considering what alternative arrangements could be made.

I should like the Minister to clarify for me the position in regard to the method of collecting income tax from employees of the State as opposed to the method which applies to other workers, namely, the PAYE system. From the financial point of view, and from the point of view of the Exchequer, there seems to be a lot of merit in the PAYE system. If there is an adjustment in wages and salaries there is an immediate inflow to the Exchequer arising out of the increased wages and salaries. The Exchequer is thereby in a better position to meet the cost of increases to its own servants. That does not happen in regard to State employees generally. They still continue on the old system. This year they will be paying income tax on their income for last year.

It occurs to me that this may have created some difficulty for the Minister, because we had last year and the year before pretty substantial and in many cases well merited increases for State servants but we did not have the position as it would apply to other workers that there was an immediate inflow to the Exchequer arising out of these increases. The Exchequer had to wait a year to recover the income tax on the higher incomes and this seems to me to put the Minister at a disadvantage. There seem to have been questions and complaints in Dáil Éireann about the situation because some people do not think it is satisfactory.

Would the Minister explain why it was necessary to continue this system in regard to civil servants? Would he say whether there is merit in my view that there would be a great advantage to the Exchequer under a system where increases in wages and salaries would be immediately brought in for income tax as applied under the PAYE system?

This matter was raised in the Dáil in a rather different way. The suggestion there seemed to be that because the rate under PAYE was lower than the standard rate on its face, people paying income under PAYE were doing better than those paid other than through the PAYE system. In fact, all State servants pay other than through PAYE but the fact is that nobody, because he operates under one system or another, pays less or more income tax.

There was at one stage some confusion when people thought that those, other than State servants, who paid under PAYE were getting away with something more than State servants. There existed for a very long period a system whereby the tax was spread out over a number of months. There is within that system room for option by State servants and when I use the term State servants I mean all workers paid out of State funds, whether established or otherwise. Some State servants do not opt for that form of deduction and for that reason they appear to have to pay larger sums but at less frequent intervals.

I do not think the suggestion holds good that the State would do better out of the increases in wages if a system akin to PAYE were introduced whereby tax would be collected earlier in the lifetime of the increased remuneration. Taking the whole period, the same tax would ultimately be collected. I probably have missed the net point of the Senator's question. I should like to know exactly what the alleged difficulty is that he wants me to cure.

I agree that over a period the State gets the benefit. The system operated for State servants also operated for many employees up to the introduction of PAYE. The introduction of PAYE, from the national financial viewpoint, had a certain advantage. If there was a round of wage increases there was an immediate inflow to the Exchequer. Under the system operated for State servants, I agree the civil servants did not get away with anything. When they come to retirement they have on their pensions to pay income tax on their salaries of their final year. It would be better for national finances if there was a situation where there would be an immediate inflow to State funds rather than have it a year later. Am I making myself clear now? In a situation where you have a general upward movement of salaries and wages, where the State inevitably has to face up to that round of increases, there is a great deal to be said for the system that would make the money immediately available, as a system like PAYE would do, in that same year.

I agree there is that immediate problem but the Senator acknowledges the fact that where there is a general wage increase the same amount will be paid by the State servants in the long run. There was a difficulty that the initiation of PAYE was a fairly substantial undertaking that stretched the resources of the Revenue Commissioners to the full in order to bring it in and have it applied universally as far as employment outside the State services was concerned.

There has been for some years a very reasonable system of tax deduction which is payable, by and large, over the whole year in the case of State servants. The State service organisations did not, at any stage, press for the introduction of the PAYE system and, therefore, it was not applied to them. As I said, there is option in the case of a State servant to come in on the system that is spread over the whole year. Some people opted for that system. Those who did not opt for it can always do so if they wish.

The State recognises that a person who does not pay tax in that way is perfectly right to opt to do so if he wishes. I would suggest, so far as there is a divergence in regard to those paid out of State funds, they may opt for the easy payments system if they find its impact less onerous. This will achieve what the Senator appears to argue, that is the accretion to the Exchequer of the tax on increased remuneration. I do not consider that the argument made for doing away with the system, that has been built up over the years, is a very good one.

One regrets it, although one expects to find a section in the Finance Bill referring to income tax for the coming year. I had great hopes at the time the Commission on Income Taxation was established that some new form of taxation would have been devised. It now seems that even in England—I do not say it would be suitable here—there are other ways in which the necessary money can be provided. Even if income tax can never be abolished completely from our taxation system, a determined effort should be made to get an alternative form of taxation and at least reduce the impact of income tax on the working public.

Income tax is a hated tax. It is hated because it is unjust and it is unjust because people know they are being had. A great number of people, particularly those on PAYE, and those on fixed incomes, are being had for the whole amount while they know there are people in this country who have incomes greater than theirs and they do not pay a halfpenny by way of income tax. There are all classes of excuses advanced for allowing that position to continue but as long as the position obtains whereby people having taxable incomes are not brought into the income tax net there remains this hatred on the part of the people who have to pay the tax.

Some amelioration of the tax burden, as far as income tax is concerned, could be achieved if an alternative means of tax were found. The present means of assessing income tax is subject to dishonesty. People subject to PAYE know they have no option but to pay this tax. Those who are not on the PAYE system, particularly professional people, know that they are also caught because the Revenue Commissioners, with the skill they have had over the years, have a very good way of compelling people to disclose their incomes. I know of people who have not disclosed their incomes and the Revenue Commissioners have dealt with those by saying: "That is your assessment. If you want to appeal that you have to go to the Special Commissioners". When a person goes to the Special Commissioners he has to go on oath.

The Senator is being cynical.

I am not. Most people are honest. I want to point out that there are ways and means of getting people to disclose their incomes. There are some people, a fairly substantial section of the community, who are not, for good political reasons, liable to income tax. As long as that position obtains income tax will be regarded as an unjust tax. I want to say something about the methods of levying and collecting income tax. Since the computers came to the Revenue Commissioners' office they have become more impersonal than they were. I do not know what kind of strange documents come out of these computers. We get less and less information for more and more tax. That matter will have to be looked into.

There are a lot of people who are on PAYE and who pay income tax under Schedule E but they never get an assessment of their income tax. They are never told what they have to pay. I understand they are entitled to get an assessment if they apply for it. I had the appalling experience recently of finding that I was being charged too much income tax and it was only by the merest chance that I discovered this. It is an extremely difficult job to find out anything about income tax even when one looks at this tome, the new Income Tax (Consolidation) Bill. Many people would be happier about paying a bill if they knew the basis upon which it was assessed. The Revenue Commissioners should tell the taxpaying public in detail what they have to pay and what reliefs they are entitled to get.

I would urge on the Minister now that he has seen the possibility of taxation on luxury goods to explore that with a view to finding some other form of taxation so that he would be able to reduce the burden of income tax on the taxpaying public. The personal allowances given are quite absurd. The married allowance is only £394 which is so absurd as not to bear any further discussion.

No tax is popular. Everybody must agree with that. It does not matter whether it is income tax or any other tax. There is no such thing as a popular tax. Any Government hoping to carry on their duties must impose tax and no Government will be so foolish as to impose an unpopular tax. It should always be the most popular tax. No matter what system of taxation a Government operates the main attitude towards it is to try to get out of it, to try to avoid paying it. No people, as far as I know, are getting away with taxation any more than some of those who have spoken here already. We have lawyers, journalists, and people like that and nobody seems to know what amount they are making. We have journalists who write for about ten different newspapers and it would be very interesting to know if these people pay tax on their income from these ten different newspapers or just on the income from one. It would be very interesting to know how some lawyers pay their tax. Mind you, if the necessary steps were taken to look into the matter we would all get shocked. While we are blamed for getting £1,000 a year—and some of us have to travel 200 miles as well and do a lot of ground work— it would be very interesting to know what some of the people who criticise, or speak vehemently against us, pay by way of income tax. When I speak about journalists I might as well include economists.

The Senator might as well lay into everybody.

It would be interesting to know what people who write in the Sunday newspapers, and so on, get off with. Of course, we know any tax the Fianna Fáil Party imposed——

The Senator did a share of that.

We must collect these taxes if we are to operate Government. I am no more hitting at the Fine Gael Party than I am at Labour because, mind you, I have always said that the Fine Gael Party are about the most conservative Party in Europe, outside the Unionists in the North, and the Irish Labour Party are second to them. It would be very hard to get a glass of sweat from any Labour representative in this House unless he lost it at a dance, that is if anyone would dance with them.

Are we discussing the Finance Bill?

The pure and simple fact is that the Government are trying to get the extra money necessary in this Bill. The people who spoke against it are the same people who went out a few weeks ago and told us what should be done in this country. We asked them where they are to get the money so that this can be done. Nobody said where the money was to come from. I suppose the idea was to create a Utopia but nobody told us where the money was to come from. If we want a Utopia somebody has to pay for it. We must still be honest about it. There is talk about a 40 hour week, a 30 hour week or a 20 hour week but, unfortunately, nobody in this country is prepared to work——

The Senator is going outside the scope of the section.

Since when did the Senator speak on the section?

I could not be more irrelevant than the people opposite.

The Senator should not be embarrassing his colleagues.

If we are to make a success of this country both the Parties opposite should go out and for once take off their coats and make an effort to show our people that like other people in the world we want to be a success.

I do not think that anything Senator O'Quigley said calls for comment from me. He said we ought to try to widen the basis of our taxation and that income tax, in so far as it is unfair, is unfair in its operation against people who have the ability to earn more, and that income tax being an unpopular tax people do not want to earn more to have more taken from them.

The necessity arises of getting revenue to run the country. We have had the difficulty over a number of years relying on the narrow basis of taxation which hit the few rather than the many. As new taxation had to be raised one usually looked to the hardy annuals, as it were, beer, cigarettes, tobacco, and so on.

As a person who is a consumer of one form, or, to some degree or another, a consumer of all three, I do not like to be hitting those particular items any more than I should. There is, I suppose, and there always will be, a certain degree of evasion of tax. Whether they are newspaper men or lawyers or professionals of any description, people who evade income tax are usually caught because the income tax inspectors are usually fairly alert men. If somebody appears to make a big income from sources which he does not disclose it often happens that the income tax inspector can get it off him one way or another but it is impossible for him to chase every one or every one hundred people who are under no obligation to disclose their incomes or to chase these home in every particular instance.

I am glad Senator O'Quigley referred to the necessity of looking for revenue outside income tax and the hardy annuals; we shall give him an opportunity tomorrow to vote in regard to such taxation.

Beidh mé i láthair.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 2 stand part of the Bill."

I welcome the improvement that has been made but I hope we have not heard the last from the Minister on adjusting allowances in income tax. Because of the failure to properly adjust allowances over the years we are now extracting income tax from lowly paid people, people who previously in relation to their standard of living would not be liable for income tax but who now, because of the change in the value of money and the failure properly to adjust allowances—farm labourers and the like—are liable to PAYE. I hope that, even if the Minister cannot do it now, when he comes to framing next year's Budget he will take a sympathetic look at the question of allowances and bring them more into line with the present day value of money.

This section is a step in the right direction.

I am sorry to intrude on the note of amity between the Labour Party and the Minister on this question. It has always struck me that the Labour Party have generally much concern about income tax allowances but have not equal concern for and interest in those who are not in the happy position which, I suppose, all of us are in. This particular provision increases the amount of the tax allowance for children, and, as an income taxpayer, I welcome this wholeheartedly.

Senator Lenehan seems to doubt that Senator Garret FitzGerald pays income tax at all.

I refrain from comment on Senator Lenehan's remarks which, as usual, did not do much credit to this House. The provision here is designed to increase the amount allowed for children and it has the effect of improving the position of people with children over 16 who are paying income tax and who, as a result of this, can benefit to a greater extent if they send their children to school beyond that age. It is an excellent thing that we should do everything we can to improve equality of opportunity in education. Anything which encourages people to send their children to school beyond the age of 16 is a good thing.

But what concerns me is that this provision is not impartial in its operation and is designed only for the benefit of the well-to-do. There is no comparable benefit for people who are not in the happy position of being able to pay income tax. I shall take the case of two people, both with a wife and two children, one of whom is a labourer on £10 a week—that is what an agricultural labourer would get if he were lucky—and the other— a well-to-do man with £5,000 or £6,000 a year. The Minister has told another House, in another context, that £7,000 a year is the typical remuneration of a chief executive of a company. I shall not go as far as that; let us just say £5,000 or £6,000 a year. That man, as a result of this particular provision, has his purchasing power increased, when he sends a child over 16 years to school, by £90 a year. As a result of his decision to send a child to school beyond the age of 16 years, he is left with £90 more to use for that or other purposes. He sends the child to a school which is subsidised, on average, to the tune of over 70 per cent by the State, so he pays less than 30 per cent of the school fees. Because he is well enough off to send the child there at all, he qualifies for this subsidy. The National Industrial Economic Council, in their comments on "Investment in Education" say:

The existing arrangements "confer an automatic subsidy on all aided post-primary and university pupils, while a second subsidy is in effect conferred on pupils whose families are in a position to benefit from income tax concessions".

Now, contrast the position of the man we have just dealt with, who gets £5,000 or £6,000 a year and who gets a present of £90 with the man on £10 a week who cannot afford to pay fees, who cannot afford the cost of the books and transport and who certainly cannot afford—if he is not living in the neighbourhood of a secondary school—the cost of boarding the child in a secondary school. He gets nothing whatever. There are scholarships, of course, but how many? The Report on "Investment in Education" discloses that only 10 per cent of children in secondary schools have scholarships. It also discloses that only 20 per cent of our children are attending school at the age of 17. That means that two per cent of the children at the age of 17 are getting scholarships and this worker's child would need to be in the top two per cent in intelligence to get anything whatsoever from the State to help him deal with his problem of being unable to pay for the cost of a secondary education, whereas the man with £5,000 or £6,000—which the Labour Party are so keen to get increased—gets £90 a year and nearly three-quarters of the school fees paid for him. As an income taxpayer, I am delighted to get this present of £52 10s. Eventually you would get over £100 a year if your income were sufficiently high. I am delighted to get my £52 10s a year. I am delighted to have a substantial proportion of my school fees paid by the State but I frankly have a guilty conscience that nothing whatever is being done in the case of parents who are not in this happy position.

This provision makes it a system of allowance which has turned this country into a middle class paradise; where if you buy a house, you get income tax off the mortgage, where if you send your children to school beyond the age of 16 you get large sums of money to help you pay for them there, where somebody not well enough off does not get any benefit. I think broader taxes may be necessary. It is quite obvious that we cannot leave the whole burden of this country on indirect taxes, when no country in Europe draws so much of its revenue from those taxes and so little from direct taxes as we do. I do not think we can go on with a system under which we have a higher proportion of indirect taxation carried by the whole community than anywhere else. This system of educational facilities and housing facilities available only to those well enough off to pay income tax, with no comparable or equivalent benefit for people who are not in this happy position, cannot be allowed to continue. This type of society can only be described as anti-social.

While we may welcome these benefits, we cannot do so without calling for equivalent benefit for those not in that position. I should like to press this point because it is a matter of fundamental social policy constantly overlooked by the people who are vocal, who are in the Dáil and Seanad, those who find it easy to write to newspapers, all pressing for more and more tax allowances while the voice of the ordinary man in the street, who is not getting these benefits, is not heard. It is not heard even through the Labour Party, who are supposed to be the spokesmen for this particular group. Therefore, I would press the point that we cannot support a proposal of this kind without voicing our desire and concern that these should be extended not only to the well-to-do but also to those who are not in that position.

(Longford): I should like Senator FitzGerald to state more clearly to the House how 70 per cent of secondary education is paid by the State. I had thought there was no subsidisation other than a capitation grant.

I shall be happy to clarify the position. I refer to Table 5.4 in the report on "Investment in Education" which shows that of a total income of £4,100,000 of secondary schools in Ireland, a total of £2,929,000 comes in the form of State grants and teachers' incremental salaries paid by the State.

I must compliment Senator FitzGerald on his statement on Labour Party policy here this afternoon. I hope he will have the courage of his convictions and do something about it. But in this section we are dealing with the increase in allowance and how we can object to an increase in income tax allowance because we are not giving an increase in the allowance for people who do not pay income tax is rather beyond me. I am fully with Senator FitzGerald in asking for free education for those people but we are not dealing with that in this particular section. We are dealing with the increase in allowance for people with children over a certain age and that is some easement to many wage earners, not the people with £5,000 and £7,000 a year.

They get a bigger easement.

For the people on £12 and £15 a week it is a great easement to them to enable them continue to keep their children at school. This is a small step forward and I welcome it because of that.

I should like to agree with Senator Murphy. I believe that Senator FitzGerald is correct, and we would certainly agree with him that if we could afford it we should give further grants or scholarships to enable children to go to secondary schools, but I think that Senator FitzGerald is ignoring one point. He mentioned the case of a man with a wife and two children who is earning £5,000 or £6,000 a year. Although it is true that he benefits in the education of his own children from our present system, he will also be paying a considerable amount in income tax or surtax for other children's education. He will be contributing substantially towards the 70 per cent of the cost of the education of other children in secondary schools and the 70 per cent subsidies by the State as things stand. He is paying heavy income tax, so that he is paying not only for the education of his own children but also paying for the education of quite a number of other children. This does not vitiate the point that we need more scholarships for children, but it is not quite fair to suggest that under the income tax system he is not also substantially helping the education of other children too.

I did not suggest that he was not subsidising them, but I am dealing with one small point, what happens in the case of the man paying income tax or surtax who decides to send his child over 16 to school and who is paying his share for education and other services. That is fair enough. Presumably he is paying the right amount, but his decision is accompanied by the payment to him in effect by the State of £90 plus three-quarters of the cost of education of his children, while the person who is earning £10 a week taking the same decision under our system does not receive any benefit unless his child is in the top two per cent. I am not arguing on the overall system which involves taxing the rich to pay the poor but the provision covered by this section which has this effect on people who decide to send their children to secondary school. I shall simply leave it at that now that Labour and Fianna Fáil are closing in together on this, so I will sit down.

I am very glad to find Senator FitzGerald stating this so clearly, because a strange doctrine seems to be just beginning to come into Irish thinking. It appeared here and there in the report on "Investment in Education" but that was only economists talking and they were not going to pass any valid judgment on it. They were just giving a hint. Over the weekend we had the bombshell from the NIEC where their main task seemed to hinge on this great principle that in future secondary education should live on its own tail, because the one point about secondary education and allowances that not all those experts have faced up to is that we are getting an absolute bargain under this code through a combination between the State, the parents through their income tax allowances and the schools.

We must keep within the question of tax allowances.

I am keeping to tax allowances. By and large, the State is making a real contribution to secondary education either through tax allowances or otherwise, but it is nonsense compared with the level of contribution made by the State elsewhere. The only assistance given here is this contribution, in one way substantial, in the income tax allowances. Surely, however, the basic principle involved is that the ability of the wage earner or the man who pays tax depends on the number of his dependants and, therefore, the ability to contribute to taxation of a person drawing, say, £800 a year with two children is higher than that of a person with the same income and three or four children. That principle is an obvious one, but if anything the Government have been over-tardy in making the adjustments that this principle calls for. Here in section 2 we have a minor adjustment based on this, that the increase in tax allowance is from £120 to £150. That certainly does not restore the differentials that operated in the early forties, but it is at least a step in the right direction. We have always clamoured here for adjustment of the dependency allowances that come under this section. Year after year we have failed to get it, and this is at least one small step in the right direction. Senator FitzGerald thinks that the time has come for the economists to vet it, and no doubt we will come to the position where the NIEC has suddenly descended from its Olympian heights of economics to become judges of everything. As a colleague of mine said in discussing it over the weekend: "I wonder will the Vatican Council decrees be submitted to them and will the Government have to have its acceptance recorded in the Reports?"

Might I have one final word? We are dealing with allowances, and this underlines the point that I was making on the last day of the incidence of taxation generally on the various groups within our community. The Minister was not here and I am sure that he did not bother reading the debate. I would not blame him for that.

They are not printed yet.

I hope that the Minister will within his Department carry out an examination of the weight of taxation—local taxation, central government taxation and social welfare taxation—on the various groups in the community so that we shall know where the shoe pinches and be able to argue from an objective viewpoint, which is very necessary if we are going to continue to increase taxation without having too much regard for or the necessary evidence about the effects, or be able to judge the merits, justice or equity of the various tax measures each year.

I do not think that this should be allowed to pass without making this statement in public. I happen to be one of those who over some seven or eight years past have been making an annual pilgrimage to the Minister for Finance pleading for the relief of taxation on behalf of deserving people. It ought to be said in fairness to the Minister that to my knowledge representations were made to at least three of his predecessors on this specific point. Up to now these representations have been met I shall not say with an emphatic "No" for that would not be fair—one at least expressed some sympathy with the submissions—but in all cases they said that it was not possible to allow this relief. The Minister has shown some courage. He is not afraid to take a stand on the matter and has come out on this particularly. I am glad to defend his action on that against such attacks as we have heard from Senator FitzGerald on the Minister as well as on the Labour Party.

I just want to make one other point. The Party of which Senator FitzGerald is now a member had the opportunity from time to time to give plenty of reliefs either on this head or in some other direction, but in fairness it must be said that the Labour Party have not yet had that opportunity. I suggest to Senator FitzGerald that if he and some of the people for whom he is speaking, perhaps, give the Labour Party that opportunity in the near future we might and we shall do something about it.

I am always reluctant to sum up a Committee Stage debate on any section in case I stir up something else. I should like to say as a general observation that personal reliefs in income tax are not designed to help anyone. One has to take the broad spectrum of income taxation into consideration and see to what extent reliefs can be given in order to suit the burden to the back since we cannot do anything to suit the back to the burden. You do not give anyone anything in these reliefs that they would not otherwise deserve.

Assistance for education is a different matter altogether. In fairness to the £5,000 a year man who Senator FitzGerald says gets a present of £90 a year because he is sending to school one child over the age of 11 years, he is not so well off at the other end of the scale because he would be caught for about £1,500.

There are few of them around.

It is just as well we have a few people who can earn that kind of money because their activities generate economic expansion. There are a few other things I could pick up on but, as I said, I am afraid I would stimulate further discussion on the section.

I took the two extremes but we could take the ordinary person with £1,000 a year or £800 a year and the effect of this would be that with a child over 16 years he would get this extra £10 a year. It is the partiality of the section I am concerned about. I see no reason for this. I see a reason for marriage and children's allowances. I suspect that these allowances are still not adequate and that married people with children are still relatively overtaxed vis-á-vis single people. However, I am not quarrelling about that. What I regard as inequitable is that this is being confined to people in the better off bracket.

(Longford): I think the greatest relief that could be given would be the relief of paying back to people the income tax which is deducted at source and which becomes a present to the Revenue Commissioners——

That matter is outside the scope of the section.

(Longford): I am informed, maybe wrongly, that there is a body of people who pay income tax—farmers and workers—and the tax is deducted at source——

That matter is outside the scope of the section.

(Longford): I shall obey the ruling of the Chair.

The Minister's words have shown that what he is doing is not giving unfair treatment to anyone. He is merely trying to equalise the tax burden between people who have children and those who have not. That is an admirable principle and I am amazed to find that Senator Fitzgerald is so far out on the left that I do not know whether he is right or left at this stage.

The Senator did not listen to anything I said if he accuses me of being against something which I specifically said I was in favour of. He did not listen to the point I made in regard to children over 16 years so his reply is completely irrelevant.

Question put and agreed to.

I move recommendation No. 1:

Before section 3 to insert a new section as follows:—

"Part VII of the Finance Act, 1965 shall not apply where the price or consideration in relation to the acquisition or disposal of an interest in land, the property of a charity, is held upon trust for the charity for the purpose of being applied in the acquisition extension renovation or repair of buildings or the acquisition or development of land for buildings used or to be used by the charity in furtherance of the primary purposes of the charity."

I am sure there are many people in this country who will regret that the Minister did not do anything in this Bill to qualify Part VII of the Finance Act, 1965, or to amend it in some way so as to get rid of some of the strange anomalies to which that section gives rise. Part VII provides that any development of land—which means any building on it or any construction or alteration of any building that has taken place between the time the person acquired it and the time he sold it—is liable for income tax. If a person buys land for £1,000 and, after doing some development on it, sells it for £5,000, he is liable for tax on £4,000. Where that type of development is carried out as part of a person's way of life that is fair enough in the broad context of levying income tax on income from economic activity.

Part VII of the Finance Act, 1965, went too far. Indeed, as originally drafted, if a man bought a house for £2,500 and then built another room, if he sold it for £5,000 when his family had grown up, the fact that he had added a room rendered him liable on the difference between the £2,500 and the £5,000. When that anomaly was pointed out to the Minister, in all fairness to the Minister, he removed it from the Bill readily enough, so that does not now apply within certain limitations. The position has now been reached that this section applies even to the activities of charitable organisations. Because of the manner in which Part VII has been drafted they are liable to income tax. I am aware of a charitable organisation with land, and buildings which were used for schools. They now require to build a new school which will be near some playing fields. This charitable organisation by definition is run for the benefit of education, which takes the burden of paying for that education off the State. The buildings which they acquired were added to over the years, and in recent years, and because they have been added to they fall within the definition of having developed their land and buildings as provided in Part VII of the Finance Act, 1965.

The end result is that, because over the years they have extended their buildings and because they might now wish to sell them for, say, £300,000, they will be called on to pay £100,000 though the intention is to build a new school with the proceeds of the sale of the old buildings. It seems that provisions in income tax legislation which provide that a charity will be deprived of one-third of the proceeds of the sale of buildings which are now unsuitable for carrying out the education of the children under the care of a charitable organisation is to be applied to income tax instead of being put back into new buildings. We all know that the two-thirds remainder will not be adequate to finance new building and I do not believe the Minister does not agree it is absurd to have such a provision. I am surprised the Minister has not amended the legislation. I hope he will accept my amendment so as to provide that Part VII of the Finance Act of 1965 will not apply. What I am trying to provide—I am not the last word in draftsmanship——

It does not seem so from the reading of the amendment.

I hope, however, that the Minister will accept the principle. I am trying to provide that if a charity sells its property, which has been developed within the meaning of Part VII of the Finance Act of 1965, and applies all of the proceeds of the sale to acquiring land for new building or to buying new buildings, more suitable for the primary purpose of the charity, that the proceeds will not be assessed for income tax. It seems entirely right that where you have a charity you should try and encourage it and not take from it in one fell swoop as much as perhaps £100,000. The wording of the amendment is taken partly from the abstruse phraseology of Part VII of the Finance Act, 1965, and section 3 of the Act of 1955 on the question of economic activity carried on by beneficiaries of charities and applied for the primary purposes of the charities. My purpose is to have these exempted from income tax under Schedule D.

There has been some criticism of Part VII of the Finance Act, 1965, which this amendment refers to and I should like very briefly to tell the House why Part VII was introduced. If a person in the ordinary course of business makes a purchase, in fairness to the rest of the taxpayers that should be liable, but builders, developers of land, were getting away with non-payment of tax because of the difficulty of proving that they bought or disposed of land or entered into commitments in respect of the development of land and the intention that they had could not be established. In Section 6 of the Finance Act, 1935, it was laid down that any person who bought and developed or went into land with the intention of developing it would be liable to income tax on profits earned out of that development. Subsequent case law has been such as to make it impossible to prove what a person's intention was when he bought or went into land.

There have been well known examples of builders who bought out tracts of land with a house. In one case the wife ultimately said she would not like to live in the house and the builder said he would buy a house elsewhere and develop the original site in the ordinary course of business. He paid no tax. Part VII of the 1965 Act was widely framed so as to catch transactions of that nature. There would have been so many means of evasion that it would hardly be worthwhile enacting a less widely framed piece of legislation. In the course of the passage of the Bill I introduced a number of amendments to try to meet obvious cases of hardship. If a person bought property and he lived in it for six years afterwards, it was provided that he would not pay on the profit earned out of the sale of that property. One can easily understand that, if the six year period did not apply, people could buy houses and sell them and buy other houses and make a nice profit, especially, in times of increasing house values.

If in the type of case Senator O'Quigley has in mind, the people concerned continued to occupy the land for six years they would not be liable. It is possible that the population of the area in which a religious charity resided might grow and that the charity might require extensions to meet the growing need for accommodation. They might have to decide to sell after five years. I appreciate there would be certain difficulties in that case because the community concerned were not in the development business for profit purposes.

There have been a number of anomalies thrown up and I set up a special section of the Revenue Commissioners to deal with this matter, to receive complaints and tease out any difficulties that arise. I said in the Dáil that after some experience of the operation of Part VII I expected to have got some idea of the operation of this section and that I intended, if necessary, to review the operation of that part of the Act and bring in amendments. I suggest it would be better not to try to deal piecemeal with the operation of that part of last year's Act. Next year I may be in a position to bring in necessary amendments. As far as any transactions now liable to tax that may, as a result of this review not be liable, I have already decided to make any relief given retrospective. In the case of Senator O'Quigley's charitable organisations, any retrospection would naturally operate in their favour. If the Senator is prepared to accept that I can assure him this will be taken into account.

I am very glad at the way the Minister has met the recommendation. I was not aware of the undertaking given by the Minister. Did he give it last year?

No. It was given in March or April last.

I do not remember all I read of what the Minister says.

The Senator should pay some attention to it because it is important sometimes.

I read with care most of what the Minister said. It seems to me that when a Minister for Finance is concerned around February, March or April with the introduction of a Budget, which will affect the economy for the coming year, he ought not be concerned with those kind of amendments. There should be two types of Finance Bills, the first one to impose any taxation that is necessary to keep the State turning over and then a Finance (Miscellaneous) Bill, introduced later in the year, which could deal with some of those complaints and bring in amendments. When the Minister and his advisers are concerned with bringing in a Budget, and, indeed, when the Houses of the Oireachtas are also concerned with financial matters, is not the time to bring in such amendments. It would be much better to bring such a Miscellaneous Bill in when the Oireachtas has more time to consider such amendments to the income tax code.

I am not advocating that we should have two Budgets every year but consideration should be given to having two separate Finance Bills. We could then deal more easily with some of the matters which inevitably must rise in the provisions of Finance Acts such as Part VII of the Finance Act, 1965. I am glad the Minister has given the assurance that those reliefs will be retrospective. The charity of which I was speaking is not a religious organisation. It is a lay organisation so I will not get their prayers which I would have got if it was a religious organisation. I may take it that the assurance given by the Minister will mean that those benefits will be retrospective in the same way as the Minister has happily made provisions regarding death duties retrospective.

(Longford): If the Minister has done any good in this respect it is because this will be retrospective. Danger could arise if we had, as suggested by the Senator, two Finance Bills. If you had a second Finance Bill dealing with reliefs only it would be very hard to have a situation in which you would say that anything done is without prejudice. I am afraid that the Minister and the Leader of the other side would find very great difficulty in that regard.

Recommendation, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 3 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 4 stand part of the Bill".

There is just one small matter I want to raise on this section. At the top of page 5 it says: "Where a dividend is paid by a company resident in the United Kingdom". I am puzzled by the word "resident". Should that not be registered?

It is used in relation to companies for income tax purposes.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 5 to 7, inclusive, agreed to.

I move recommendation No. 2:

Before section 8, but in Part I, to insert a new section as follows:—

"Paragraph (h) of subsection (3) of section 71 of the Finance Act, 1963 is hereby amended by the substitution of ‘fifty' for ‘five' in subparagraph (i)."

This refers more to the administration of the Customs and Excise code than to anything directly concerned with the payment of taxes imposed by this section. I am sure the Minister will readily appreciate that the whole taxation system is very heavily weighted against the income taxpayer. If it were not very heavily weighted against him the State would be in danger of losing a great deal of revenue and the administration of the code would be extremely difficult. That being so, the Revenue Commissioners, where mistakes are made—mistakes are sometimes made—should treat the income taxpayer with the same kind of consideration one would expect from any normal person.

The position at the present time in relation to many aspects of taxes administered by the Revenue Commissioners is that you have to pay what they say is payable. When that is done if you see you have a grievance against them and that you have been charged at the wrong rate, you may take the proceedings to court. That is the only way you can have an argument. That is very valid because if people found they could get out of paying their tax they would do so. If the tax people did not insist that the tax was paid first it could happen after proceedings were taken in court the verdict might be given against the person but there would be money to meet the person's liability. Therefore, I consider the Revenue Commissioners have a very real obligation to make sure they facilitate the taxpayer in any dispute he feels he has with them.

As I understand the position, as a lawyer, if you think you are liable to a particular rate of duty and you find out you are mistaken in your interpretation of the part of the Schedule or part of the Act you come under, if you make a mistake in your interpretation of the law, then you may very well find yourself not entitled to a repayment although, in fact, you have paid more money in the form of tax than you should have. The Revenue Commissioners, where that kind of situation arises, should not stand upon the law. They should stand upon what is fair and just as between them and the taxpayer. I hope, in relation to this, in relation to the estate duty and in relation to income tax generally that the attitude of the Revenue Commissioners would be that laid down for them by the Minister, in so far as a Minister can dictate to a statutory body such as they are, that wherever there is any possibility that a mistake has been made by them, and if a refund is payable, then it should be repaid.

I may be going too wide in this when I refer to the estate duty code but I want to assure the House that when I raise it on this section I shall not raise it again on the estate duty section. I have had the experience of people being liable to pay more tax than they were liable to pay under a Finance Act relating to death duties. It has always been conceded and I am sure it is still conceded in the Estate Duty Office that people were entitled to a refund. Whether the money is paid under misapprehension as to the effect of a document or misapprehension as to the effect of a particular section of an Act the Estate Duty Office regularly repay what has been overpaid.

Equally so, in relation to the administration of customs and excise that position should obtain. I think it is extremely important that the taxpayer should always have the feeling that what he is paying is what is due. If the Revenue people, whether customs and excise, income tax inspectors, or people in the Stamp Office or elsewhere, are discussing the liability to taxation upon a particular transaction, instrument or Vote, the taxpayers should not have the feeling that the Revenue people were there merely looking for what was entitled to the State under the law, that they paid first and then if they had a grouse they could go and mitigate it in court. My happy experience as a member of the Estate Duty Office was that you told the citizens they were entitled to a refund. If it were known that the Revenue Commissioners took the extraordinary step of telling people they were entitled to be paid and that they were paid in full; if the Revenue people got that type of reputation you would have a somewhat different approach by people who are liable to pay customs and excise duty or income tax or anything else.

That is a matter the public should realise. It is something that should be undertaken and it is the kind of attitude that civil servants, who should be, and who are, impartial, should have. They are always impartial on the side of Revenue but when it comes to liability they should be got to adopt that attitude of actual fairness to the public and it would generate a greater share of cooperation from the public.

Arising out of this section on increased tax on beer and the following section with increased tax on spirits, the increased taxation is something that nobody likes to pay but under this heading, beer and spirits, would it be possible for the Minister to establish a direct connection between relief from taxation under section 8——

We are not on the section. We are on the recommendation.

I did not know we were on the recommendation. I was talking on the section. The Minister must have wondered what I was talking about.

I was wondering about the first part of the Senator's speech.

Briefly, what the recommendation is about is that under section 71 of the Finance Act, 1963, and under the Finance Acts of 1963 generally, persons who had deposits in banks were liable to have these disclosed under the provisions of the Finance Act, 1963 and that has now been increased to £50. Where the amount of interest is £50 or upwards the disclosure must be made. I am told the position under paragraph (h) of section 71 of the Finance Act, 1963 is that provident societies, which I take it everybody would wish to encourage, must make a disclosure if the person has interest amounting to more than £5 per annum. I understand that a number of provident societies feel there is discrimination against them which will not be helpful to persons wishing to invest in provident societies. Then, perhaps, the Minister might take into consideration the fact that one Finance Bill is tidying up certain aspects of existing legislation. That is the point I wish to make. At the present time provident societies are liable to make a disclosure where the people receive interest of £5 or in excess of that. People who have investments in banks or other finance houses, such as hire purchase, do not have to make such disclosure unless the amount exceeds £50 per annum. I think that is a discrimination against provident societies which may act as a disincentive to people who would be inclined to invest small amounts in the provident societies.

This may appear on first sight as discrimination against provident societies but, in fact, the relief given in last year's Finance Act in the case of non-disclosure of the proceeds bearing interest of £50 or less is not the same type of thing that is concerned here at all. The type of money deposited with provident societies is usually long-term money, interest being payable in the form of yearly dividends or otherwise. The type of money that is invested or deposited in banks does not form part of the capital structure of the bank at all.

The purpose of the original Act of 1953 was to ensure that people who made deposits to the banks or were earning a lot of money should be made liable for income tax, and not be avoiding the payment of income tax to the detriment of the rest of the community. In the case of provident or co-operative societies they may pay interest on deposits without deducting tax. When it comes to payment by the co-operative societies or the provident societies of tax, and whatever profits they earn which are liable to tax, then the society must make a disclosure on payments of interest of £5 and upwards in order to give the opportunity to the Revenue Commissioners to determine properly what tax is, in fact, payable.

In the case of an ordinary company who pay interest on share capital in the form of dividends, they are obliged to deduct tax at source and to employ staff in order to do that. Provident societies and co-operative societies are not obliged to deduct tax at source. They can pay interest and it is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners to get after the receipts. It is a relief for the co-operative or provident societies not to be burdened with a deduction of tax. It is suggested that in that way they have a certain advantage and that the obligation of disclosing interest payments of £5 and upwards is a small enough price to pay for the undoubted privilege they have over ordinary incorporated companies.

I can assure the Senator that while it might appear at first sight to be discrimination, the two things are not, in fact, the same. The £50 level for non-disclosure purposes concerns short-time deposits which do not form in any way part of the company's capital structure. This is one of the cases where one has to strike a balance as between two goods. The first one is to enforce a general principle that everybody who has an income should disclose it so that it should be liable to tax that can be levied on it.

I think one also has to consider in a case of this kind whether this kind of requirement will not have a disincentive effect upon the people in those various provident societies. I would have thought we should encourage people with small savings to make small investments in these kinds of societies and to invest in the co-operative movement. If they do get away with some small amount of income tax, that may be the price we have to pay in order to keep developing these particular types of institutions which we consider desirable. I would ask the Minister not to close his mind to a further review of this at a later stage because I am not at all certain in regard to the upper limit in the case of bank deposits which he says is in relation to short term deposits—I have not got the information which the Minister has—but I take the liberty of doubting whether or not the deposits in respect of which these disclosures will be made were not the kind of deposits that were there year in year out and which formed a great deal of the till money available to the banks for their ordinary small loans to the ordinary man in the street. I would ask the Minister, perhaps, to have another look at this in the context of his next Finance Bill, when he will be making some other changes in the Finance Act of 1965.

I will do that but I just want to make this further observation—that what the Senator suggests would perhaps present little difficulty if these provident societies were obliged to deduct tax at source; in other words before paying interest to their clients they would first deduct tax. That, of course, would impose an obligation on the society. At the moment they do not deduct tax at source; they pay the interest out, Therefore, the main purpose of this disclosure is not so much to catch the person to whom interest is paid but as a means of assessing what tax is payable by the co-operative society itself. However, there is a counterbalancing advantage as against whatever disadvantage is incurred. I shall certainly have a look at it.

Recommendation, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That section 8 stand part of the Bill."

It would be well if the Minister could identify certain taxes with certain very useful work being done for the community, especially in the case of the beer and spirits tax if the Minister could identify any increases made in this with increases, say, to the social welfare group. There is a great deal which can be done by way of public relations to make tax paying more palatable. The United States has brought this to a very fine art where, at every hand's turn, one is confronted along the highways with signs showing your tax dollar at work. It does make the paying of tax easier and more palatable if it is brought home to you that this taxation has been used to increase the social welfare benefits; that some other taxation is being used for some other purpose. You have got to take pairs which go together and, in this case, beer and spirits tax would be a very natural one to link closely with increases in social welfare. I know the Minister would do it now but I have no doubt that he will be looking for further money in the future. If this tax could be the means of increasing social welfare benefits, then signs displayed prominently, even in public houses and elsewhere, would do much to get the home drinkers to see that their tax is doing good work. Also tourists visiting here, who might be inclined to object to certain high prices or to say that the price of beer and so on is out of line; their objections to paying would be greatly reduced if they were confronted with such signs.

It is a suggestion worth considering, of course.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 9 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 10 stand part of the Bill."

With the taxation on hydrocarbon oils, petroleum and so on, there is a great deal about which the public are confused at present. They are confused at the petrol tax and the many grades of petroleum which are associated with this tax. When the tax was imposed prices seemed to be at variance—Shell at 5/7d, Shell at 5/5d and so on. This seems in the public mind to be linked with some suggestion that certain companies have cut their prices to absorb a certain amount of the tax increase. I do not know whether or not they have cut the prices or whether it is a question of blending a cheap mix with a dear one and getting this in between mix. But there is some need for the work which is done by the Fair Trade Commission in the United States, where you can get a positive assessment of the various grades of article available. In this case, the present confusion in the petrol market was intensified as a result of the Budget increases and it calls for giving some standard to the public to let them know whether certain of the bargains offered are genuine price cuts being brought in by some petrol distributors to absorb part of the tax or whether they are just sales gimmicks, by simply mixing two grades of petrol and, therefore, misleading people.

Anybody who could be misled by that would be very innocent.

They are not all as wise as Senator Murphy.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 11 stand part of the Bill."

There is a conflict here between the money taken from tobacco and the peril to health, as pointed out frequently. I would suggest to the Minister that surely here is a place where he could again link the yield from tobacco with the contributions made to health.

For publicity purposes? In checking the content of the commodity?

No, but increased taxation coming from tobacco, under the heading of Health. If this could be set off or paired with increased taxation coming from tobacco, you could link the two together.

I would prefer to decide social welfare apart from Budget time entirely. I believe that to bring in social welfare or health assistance as a by-product of a Budget is not a very good thing. We ought to be able to make up our minds in advance of Budget time as to what money would be required for health or social welfare to make sure that we could provide the money. I think it was Senator O'Quigley and also Senator FitzGerald who referred to this point, too. I think that that is the wrong way to do it. We should look at it in advance and see how much we should expend on social welfare and health and frame our Budget accordingly.

I would agree with that, but when it comes to increasing the tax to meet the sums required it would be a good principle if the yield from what you decided was necessary for social welfare could be put on specific taxes, part of the drink tax for social welfare and part of the tax on tobacco for health, for example. It could be an extra penny or halfpenny or whatever would be required on cigarettes, and that would give the public the reason why every specific rise in these increased taxes was being put on spirits and tobacco.

I think it would be highly dangerous for us to state that good health was a product of smoking and social welfare a product of drinking.

In California good education is a product of horseracing. It is the 20 per cent on the horse-racing industry that makes ample funds available for education.

Our good health is a product of gambling to a large extent.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 12 stand part of the Bill".

Though it appears, I am sure, in every Finance Bill, I do not quite understand how we can today, the 5th of July, say that every licensed manufacturer of tobacco shall not later than the 16th day of March, 1966, make a return to the Revenue Commissioners.

The Budget Resolution is what gives immediate legislative effect to this, but in order to bolster up the legislative effect you have to have this section.

I think that the Minister will agree that this is a case where lex cogit ad impossibilia.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 13 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 14 stand part of the Bill".

Could the Minister tell us what would be the likely impact of this increased tax on a bottle of minerals?

It is a heavy impact on parents anyway. They have gone up twopence in price.

The total increased yield has been given as £220,000 in the current year. That seems to be rather low.

The excise duty contained in the retail price of a half-pint bottle of table waters was 3/4d. The proposed increase will raise the duty content by almost 3/4d., to 1?d.

That is a little over a farthing.

A little less than a halfpenny.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 15 stand part of the Bill".

Can the Minister say that when the Revenue Commissioners make these regulations they are obliged to lay them before the Oireachtas?

Regulations are made by the Revenue Commissioners for the purpose of collecting the duty. They can be certified as exempted from certain formalities.

"Irish wine" is news to me. I did not know that we were making any wine and I am wondering how much revenue it will bring in.

The revenue from this tax will be about £2,000, so that it is hardly worth talking about. The purpose of the provision is to comply with the Free Trade Area Agreement. We import here a commodity called "must" which is grape-juice or the product of the grape in a certain unfermented or pre-fermented state. There is no duty on imported must, but there is a duty on wine imported from Britain, and in order to eliminate protective duties under the Free Trade Agreement we have either to relieve the British wine from duty or impose a corresponding excise duty on Irish wine.

The section is a must.

Irish producers of wine have opted for the build-up of the excise duty in the ten annual stages commencing on 1st July this year.

I did not quite catch what the Minister said about the regulations but I understood him to say that the regulations were made unless they were exempted. I should like to get some information as to whether the regulations are in the same position as regulations which may be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and liable to annulment.

I understand that these regulations are not statutorily required to be laid before the Oireachtas, but as a matter of practice they are.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 16 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 17 stand part of the Bill."

Arising out of subsection (6) of section 17 I wonder why it was necessary to have this additional reduction on cars over 16 horse power?

Again, this is one of the provisions introduced in this Finance Bill in order to comply with the requirements of the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement, in order to remove the protective element we enjoy over British manufacturers.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 18 stand part of the Bill."

Up to now when the next of kin of a person who died was entitled to a death gratuity, that death gratuity was not liable to estate duty because it was not property in which the deceased had an interest. In one of the Finance Acts, non-contributory pensions were brought within the ambit of the death duty code. Here we are bringing these gratuities within that ambit. Subsection (5) of this section repeals section 5 of the Finance Act, 1945, which related to death duties payable by members of the Defence Forces. I am wondering why this section is being brought into operation at this stage.

Death benefits payable if they were indefeasibly vested in the beneficiary were regarded as being outside the scope of aggregation. Last year's Finance Act brought these within the sphere of aggregation for tax on the estate of the deceased for estate duty purposes. Death duties payable under superannuation schemes, such as to civil servants, were not indefeasibly payable to anyone. They were regarded as benefits payable at the will and pleasure of the Government.

If a person paid all his life into a superannuation scheme so that on his death a lump sum would be payable as of right to his widow or some dependant, that was caught for duty. It was thought unfair that having contributed to the superannuation scheme of a statutory body, or the superannuation scheme of a company, he should be caught on an excess of £5,000 and that a civil servant should not be caught. The fact is that a person in a superannuation scheme has, by and large, an indefeasible right to a lump sum. A civil servant cannot enforce that right under any circumstance and for that reason it was always considered for Revenue purposes that the lump sum could not be caught for estate duty. At any stage it could be removed without any right on the part of the person whose life was covered, or the person who was benefiting, to demand payment of the sum.

Comment was made in the Dáil last year—and perhaps in the Seanad; I forget—that it appeared to be unfair that civil servants should have the right of not having their lump sums liable for death duty. In fact, most people who get lump sums no matter from what source are free of estate duty unless they exceed £5,000, and very few do, but in order that justice would appear to be done, and in order to satisfy the comment made last year, I introduced this provision this year to abrogate this notional benefit for civil servants. In order to do that I had to do it across the board and apply it to what are called deferred benefits payable to members of the Defence Forces.

In principle, I suppose, one cannot quarrel with this section. It shows the difficulty of doing justice when you apply a general provision to a whole set of people. I have a certain amount of sympathy with civil servants who now find themselves liable to this new tax. I never knew of any occasion when civil servants went before an arbitration board, or met the Department of Finance or the Minister for Finance, looking for increases in pay, when they were not always told of all the advantages they had, and their pay was depressed proportionately on account of the advantages they had. One advantage they were told they had was a non-contributory pension scheme, and that the lump sum payable on the death of a serving officer was not liable to death duty. This has been foisted on them for 40 years and now the Minister says: "That might be so, but I have to justify this to the rest of the community." I hope the Department of Finance will never mention pensions again at arbitration in that context.

I hope that has gone out of their vocabulary. I also hope this anomalous Victorian concept that pensions were payable at the will and pleasure of Queen Victoria's Commissioners of the Treasury will go out of the superannuation code. I do not know whether the Minister has in mind a codification of the superannuation code for civil servants which is long overdue. If I had known this applied equally to civil servants—I thought it applied only to members of the Defence Forces—I would have suggested a recommendation to remove that anomaly now that they will not have the benefit of a non-contributory scheme. That recommendation would probably have been ruled out of order. Whatever about the civil servants, I greatly regret that a lump sum now payable on the death of a member of the Defence Forces will fall to be aggregated in the estate of the deceased soldier.


Wait now. We had special provisions in this House in relation to the widows of some of the men who died in the Congo. I think they were of the order of £3,000. You must add the value of the dwellinghouse, and it would be a very poor house that would not be worth £3,000.

It would not be aggregated then. So long as it does not exceed £5,000 it would not be aggregated with the rest of the estate.

The first £5,000 is certainly exempt from liability to estate duty. Do I understand that the first £5,000 will not be aggregated with the other property of the deceased?

No. If it does not exceed £5,000 it will not be aggregated at all.

That is not as bad as one would have thought. I cannot see many privates paying death duties.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 19 stand part of the Bill."

This is the section on which I congratulated the Minister for the step he has taken in making it retrospective. I wonder if it is now possible to say whether this has been done before. Perhaps if it has he should not say so but should take credit for doing it for the first time by his silence. I do not follow this. It was a bit vague in the Finance Act, 1965. There is a reference to the widow and then to the children who are entitled to benefit and the children who are not entitled to benefit. I wonder if the Minister would be good enough to give us a clear exposé of what the section is intended to mean.

In order to benefit, a person must be a dependant, and a child must have such an income as would put him outside the scope of the dependency, otherwise he will benefit. As far as retrospection is concerned, I do not know if there is any precedent for it. I am not taking credit for it because, having introduced something last year that I did not think was sufficient, I went back and reconsidered it.

I should like to add my congratulations to the Minister for righting an obvious injustice in the Bill. I should like to think that the debate in the Seanad, which took many hours, had some effect in shaping the Minister's policy on this. If so, we might enter with renewed vigour amendments to future Bills in the hope that if they are not conceded in the Bill at issue they may affect Government thinking subsequently. As it stands, the increase here is very welcome, being up to £250 in the case of each child. I am sorry Senator FitzGerald is not here. I am sure he would find it very repugnant to the principle he enunciated today. One question I should like to raise is, in applying the £25,000 limit am I to understand that if there is a death gratuity of less than £5,000 it is not included in the estate calculated for the purpose of the section?

It is not liable if it goes to the widow and dependants.

Another point is that many concerns are becoming conscious at the moment of the necessity for widows' pensions. It is rather unfair that when an estate is concerned these pensions are aggregated on the life expectancy of the widow. If she is a young widow the aggregation is far more than it is in the case of a widow with an expectancy of only a few years. That is very wrong and I appeal to the Minister to right the anomaly. The very least that should be done is that a widow would pay her share as she lived; in other words, rather than aggregating the pension and having the widow pay right there and then the total duty on the aggregation, it could be deducted from the pension over the period of her lifetime. That would spread the burden over the years left to the widow and at the same time free her from having to find a big sum of money immediately after a death when she is in no position to have to deal with financial problems.

I ask the Minister, therefore, to do something about the two difficulties I have mentioned, possibly not this year but next year. The first is the calculation of the pension based on life expectancy of the widow and the second is that the widow should be allowed to pay as she gets her pension and not have to pay a lump sum on the expectancy that she will live for so many years. Let the Minister get whatever he thinks he should get from the pension each year. Why should he be paid in advance?

What the Senator has in mind will be kept under review. The question of liability for these annuities was not introduced for the first time last year. It was always there. I am not surprised that Senator O'Quigley did not seem to follow my reply when he asked me who were the dependants and I said children with certain incomes. That was a misunderstanding. Dependency is determined on the liability for income tax and children are dependants up to 16 years or more than 16 years who are receiving full time instruction in a university, school or college.

I was about to come back to that. Section 29 defines a dependant as a widow or child and the child is defined as a person up to the age of 16 or more than the age of 16 who is receiving full time instruction in a university, college or school. If there is a child of a deceased who is receiving full time instruction, that child is a dependent child for the purpose of the section. May I here draw the Minister's attention to another anomaly? Supposing there is a child not receiving full time instruction in any of the establishments mentioned but who is an apprentice earning a small amount of money and receiving part time instruction in a vocational school. It seems to me that child would have been partially dependent on the deceased father. The amount the child in apprenticeship might be earning would be extremely small in the first year. I suggest the Minister should give consideration to bringing apprentices within the ambit of the section.

That certainly can be considered.

It is a pity Senator FitzGerald has not been here for this. We are now talking about not middle class society but upper class. A lot of nonsense has been talked about death duty in recent years and the Minister has been put under considerable pressure. We have been told that if we remove death duties completely there will be an influx of wealthy people bringing in wealth, investing it in businesses, providing employment and revenue for the Minister by way of income tax. A variation of that philosophy is the poor widows and orphans being pounced on by rapacious Revenue Commissioners who seize the wealth of the widows and orphans and reduce them to virtual starvation. There is being built up a climate and we are accepting these arguments without looking critically at them. The people making these arguments have a very real vested interest. They are people who have been accumulating a lot of wealth and have the ambition that because they cannot bring it with them they should leave it with their families without the State doing anything about the redistribution of capital which, I suggest, is a duty and an obligation of this and every other State. I sympathise with that natural feeling of wealthy people. If I were wealthy I would have the same ambition to prevent my estate being broken up or taken from my dependants on my death.

I was interested in the last report of the Revenue Commissioners, which is available in the Library. It is for the year ending 31st March, 1965. We have a lot of information in that about death duties. It is shown that the Revenue Commissioners received £4½ million from death duties in that year. If we abolish death duties it means the poor Minister for Finance will have to find somebody else to pay this £4½ million and I suppose we will have more indirect taxation taken out of the pockets of the poor unfortunates instead of, as in this case, taking it out of the estates of the very wealthy. I underline the words "very wealthy".

We find in this report, for example, that the highest rate of duty operating here is 40 per cent. It was 53 per cent previously and I think it is 80 per cent in Great Britain. In that particular year there were 3,000 estates dealt with by the Revenue Commissioners. The total value of those estates was about £31 million after deductions. If we start breaking down that sum we find that the number of estates exceeding £100,000 in value was 21. Those estates had between them a total value of £3½ million. Let me put that into percentages. That meant that .07 per cent of the estates owned 10 per cent of the wealth of the country.

We are now, in this Finance Bill, making further concessions and virtually exempting estates up to £25,000. I was interested in the position in regard to those estates and I found that there were 211 estates exceeding £25,000. They totalled between them £11½ million. This, percentagewise, means that seven per cent of the estates owned over 37 per cent of the wealth of the country. I suggest to Senators that it is a right and proper thing that the State should enter in and get some money from capital at that stage. Death duties, as such, are a good thing and they must be maintained in this country.

Remember that death duties are the only capital tax we have in this country. It seemed from the intervention of the Taoiseach in the Budget debate in the Dáil that he is finally coming around to the idea that we should have a capital tax, something on the lines of that which operates in Britain at the moment. The only sort of capital tax we have is death duties.

Let me deal for a moment with the argument about the poor widow and her children. I applied that case to myself. I have a wife and four children. I decided I would like to find out what estate I could leave without the Revenue Commissioners getting a halfpenny out of it. I found the position is that a widow with four orphans gets the first £1,350 duty completely wiped out. That represents an estate of about £16,000. In addition, she could have the death benefits Senator O'Quigley has been talking about, of up to £5,000, without attracting any tax at all. Therefore, I could leave £21,000 to my widow and four children without attracting any death duties at all. I may assure the Seanad I am in no danger in that respect of attracting death duties at all.

The Senator might have capital gains.

Provided the Minister for Transport and Power makes me chairman of CIE. We will learn about any chance in that direction tonight. If I felt I was in danger of paying death duties I could make gifts up to £500 to my wife and four children, They would probably die of shock. That is another £2,500. Therefore, I could dispose of about £23,000 or £24,000 without attracting any death duties at all. That is the extent to which we have gone to meet representations and arguments about the inequities of death duties and respecting the poor widow and orphans.

I suggest the Minister has gone far enough in this respect. I am not opposing what has been done in this particular Bill but I suggest it is time a halt was called to the representations made in this respect in the Dáil every year. We cannot afford to forgo death duties. We cannot afford to do without them. I suggest, apart from whether we can afford to do without them or not, we should not do away with death duties. They are a good thing and the State has a responsibility to enter in at that stage and prevent the accumulation of wealth in a few hands.

We have heard the argument made about abolishing death duties in order to attract capital to this country to promote employment. One of the fallacies in that is that death duties are at a much lower rate here than in Britain but we do not see people flocking over from Britain with wealth, investing it in industries and providing employment here. When a person talks about death duties he is not at that enterprising stage when he wants to build factories and provide employment. He wants to salt away his money in order to avoid the danger of attracting death duties when he passes on. The only interest a person might have at that stage is to sink his money in land. I suggest to all Senators that that is a very bad thing. We do not want to build up the sort of society where people would sink money in big estates and leave less land available for others. That is a bad system. We are better off without that.

Death duties in the Isle of Man are less than they are here but we do not have Irish people going over there with their wealth. The Channel Islands are much the same in this respect. Their death duties are much less than they are here. Despite the fact that they are better off, climatewise than we are, people in this country are not attracted to invest their wealth there. I suggest to the House and to the Minister that the arguments which have been repeated every year are wrong and the Minister should not give way to any further pressure regarding the abolishing of death duties. He should not give any more reliefs either. There may be marginal ones about what Senator Quinlan was saying in regard to aggregating death duties for widows' pensions. There may be something in that. Apart from that, we have gone far enough in giving reliefs in regard to death duties and we should not go any further.

There is just one brief point in regard to what Senator Murphy has said. In point of fact the section itself is just a section for the relief of hardship. We hope that none of us will ever claim the allowance for dependent children under this section because that is for children under the age of 16 on the death of a parent. We hope that Senator Murphy or any of us will not be availing of that section.

Hear, hear.

I think the idea given by Senator Murphy was that this immediately means that in an estate under £25,000 death duties do not apply at all. The section is concerned with hardship cases and the whole subject of death duties is, of course, not greatly affected by this section. I have a great deal of sympathy for Senator Murphy's views as a whole provided we do not cut off our nose to spite our face, in that something might arise that forces the break up of a family concern or that might ultimately damage that concern.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 20 stand part of the Bill".

This section deals with stamp duties and a great deal of revenue is gathered in the form of stamp duty. On the Housing Bill we urged the Minister for Local Government to converse with his colleague, the Minister for Finance, about stamp duty on houses purchased by young married couples. This kind of stamp duty at a time like that is a severe burden and I do not know that the Exchequer would lose all that if a marriage gratuity by way of non-taxation were available to young married couples. I should like the Minister to give consideration to that at some stage.

With regard to other extra duties my experience is, in relation to court work, that there is a stamp duty on the issue of a civil bill, on the issue of a summons, on affidavits, notices of motions, and so on. I wonder if the Minister or his advisers have ever looked into this method of collecting court fees by way of impressed stamps. It seems to me that there is an enormous amount of time wasted in the payment of stamp duties on 2/6 sometimes and 5/-. There are clerks, solicitors and people like that queueing up in order to pay such small sums.

In this particular section we are dealing with agreements to pay stamp duty on certain types of instruments in bulk sums. I have often wondered whether or not we could get rid of this interminable waste of time in the life of the courts in getting documents stamped and paid for, whether it would not be possible to devise a system whereby at the end of the case people could pay out and recover afterwards as part of the cost of the stamp duty in one lump. The amount of time wasted and the number of man-hours lost, nationally speaking, is a disgrace. We cannot afford that kind of waste of time. In addition to that, it has solicitors, their clerks and agents, bothered and bewildered in trying to have all the documents stamped. If they are not stamped they are not received in court. I think it ought be possible to devise a system whereby at one point the same revenue could be brought in with perhaps a saving of 100 man-hours. I think the Minister will do a great service and would save a great deal of time, from the national point of view, if he were able to devise that kind of system. I always thought that the idea of paying stamp duty on the issue of a civil bill in order to obtain justice is repugnant to my notion of a citizen's right of justice. A citizen is entitled to justice as he is to fresh air. It is part of the natural make-up of man. He ought to be entitled to go into court to get justice without having that obstacle before him. That, however, is another day's work. Perhaps the Minister might get an examination under way in relation to this and its elimination.

I have some knowledge of stamping those court documents. I have knowledge of other practices, too, in that connection, but if I may say, no experience. This composition section deals with duty chargeable on foreign bills and notes and I do not know whether it would be possible to devise a system whereby people who have to pay stamp duty on legal documents would combine their liability so as to carry out in one transaction that which might involve a series of cases for months of the year. It seems to me at first sight that it would be rather difficult to do so.

In relation to any particular action it could be. Take out your final order and then say that in that kind of an action stamp duty should be so much, take a rough average to bring in the same amount of revenue.

It could be looked at in relation to an individual action.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 21 and 22 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 23 stand part of the Bill".

On section 23 in relation to the dance hall tax, I wonder whether my arithmetic is correct because Senator Sheldon and I had a difference on this the other day. My interpretation is that the tax proposed is 10 per cent and, therefore, on a 7/6d ticket the tax will amount to just 9d. Then going back to the age when 7/6d was really money, I think the Revenue tax on dances was much higher. I think the tax on a 7/6d ticket was 1/3d and on a 10/- ticket it was around 2/6d. Am I correct in assuming that the present tax on tickets under 15/- would be substantially less than was brought in on a corresponding ticket in 1940?

The Senator is right there.

I just want to make one deduction. I hope in the next Finance Bill we will have a realistic tax on dance halls. Perhaps the Minister would use the moneys got on dance tickets to provide money for education, particularly secondary education, and not have to take it, as Senator FitzGerald recommended in the NIEC Report, from the parents who are already overburdened and already doing a tremendous job in educating their children without thanks from anybody. We are giving education at a price that is unheard of in the rest of the world. I think there is plenty of money to be got for secondary education, if the Minister wants a source, by upgrading the dance hall tax to what it was in the 1940s.

In the Dáil the Minister dealing with this section seemed to say that a dinner dance would be exempted from this tax. There was a rather confusing discussion on that. I have been rather puzzled at the interpretation which he seemed to put on the two. I cannot see anything which would exclude a dance because it was a dinner dance. Yet, the dance question was raised by somebody in the Dáil and the Minister seemed to imply that if, in fact, the dance was accompanied by a dinner it would not come in here. He brought it a stage further in speaking of occasions when there might be a dance incidental to a social function. Where is the line drawn? If, in fact, you have a dinner and people just dance after it, how is that distinguished from a dinner dance where people go to a dance and get dinner? I thought the Minister did not draw the line clearly in the Dáil. That is a practical point and people want guidance on it. It is quite normal at dances to have meals served. I think the Minister should give rather more precise guide lines to people as to how they will keep out of the tax and in what circumstances they will be caught.

I am also interested as to what is the meaning of subsection (9) which says:

In this section "dance" includes "a ball".

I have always wondered what differentiated a ball from a dance. I never thought I would be able to find out in this way but it seems as good a way as any to find out what is the distinction. I know that a ball is a fancy kind of dance but it seems that there is some distinction between the two. Perhaps the Minister could clarify this point for us also.

I can only say that the Parliamentary Draftsman advised this definition of a dance to include a ball. I do not know what the distinction is. We hear such American terms as "somebody has had a ball." That does not necessarily mean that he has been cavorting in a terpsichorean way. I am always prepared to accept the advice of experts in these matters and, once it does not do any harm and ensures that a dance is properly defined, there is no reason why a ball should not be mentioned.

In regard to the distinction between dances and dinner dances, it is not intended that this section should apply to the functions, held in different parts of the country, where dancing is purely incidental to the main purpose of the gathering. You have all kinds of re-union dinners at which speeches are made and at which dancing facilities happen to be provided—somebody can play the piano well. Or take the Federation of Irish Industries or the Federation of Irish Exporters, who have a dinner mainly but if they advertise it as a dinner-dance, then those people would be liable to the tax on a dinner-dance. But there will have to be a certain area of discretion; I could not define it. The Senator put three or four examples here. I could not say what is in and what is out but, by and large, the definition is that a function where dinner is the main purpose, where speeches are made and suffered, where somebody starts playing the piano and women want to dance around, well that is not a dance within the meaning of this section.

Therefore, in order to avoid taxation, you ask a Minister to come and make a speech. I am not too sure that the Minister will be so pleased with this interpretation if it increases the amount of invitations he will receive from people wanting to avoid the tax.

I suppose that the Parliamentary Draftsman, in regard to the other point, may be trying to obscure some possibility of evasion but he seems to have widened it. The word "ball" has another meaning. If dance includes a "ball" then do all balls, cricket balls, footballs, etc fall to be liable to tax? It would seem that the Parliamentary Draftsman in trying to clarify something has only obscured it.

This is a reference back to the definition in the old Entertainment Duty Acts. There would be no difficulty.

Some of those "balls" could include those with which the Minister has been familiar in the past.

This is the kind of thing I take the most strenuous objection to. I have no shares in dancehalls or anything of that kind but this is the kind of thing which gives rise to a great deal of resentment on the part of the taxpayer. Here we have a new turnover tax in respect of dances and dancing and even the Minister is not able to tell us at this late stage in the Seanad what is within the scope of the tax. What will happen is this—the Revenue Commissioners, the always all-powerful Revenue Commissioners, will say: "That is a dance" and you will pay your tax. That is the kind of whip hand which the Revenue Commissioners are always inclined to wield and, certainly, the hand they have. One person says: "Well, that was not a dance"; another person will say: "The Revenue Commissioners say it was and you are liable."

Where we are imposing taxation we ought to be clear as to what kind of dance we have in mind. I would have thought, when I saw this, straight away that anywhere a dance was held this turnover tax applied. The Minister made a reasonable enough case, I think, in the Dáil in connection with a hotel or people providing a meal— that that part of their activity would be liable, in any event, to 2½ per cent turnover tax and, therefore, you are not going to impose tax twice upon them at a rate of 2½ per cent and 10 per cent but you do distinguish between the provision of a meal, serving food, drink and so on and the other part of the revenue derived from a dance. There would be one price for the whole dinner-dance. If that is the kind of thing which ought to be excluded— because it would be unfair to impose taxation twice—then what should be included and how it should be defined —it is not a matter, in my submission, for the Parliamentary Draftsman—is that dances at which meals are not provided are going to be liable to this full 10 per cent.

We know the kind of big dancehalls where the Clancy Brothers attend and at which thousands of pounds are made each night. I am quite happy to see ten per cent being taken there. I detest seeing it in a form of turnover tax, because I do not like this taxation in any event. We ought to be able to define that. I am wondering whether or not the Revenue Commissioners will have power, under any special regulation they have, to decide this matter. I do think the Minister should seriously consider dealing in some other Bill with the kind of dance, the big dance at which the main activity is dancing and at which no meal is served.

Senator Quinlan apparently wants this raised from ten per cent to 25 per cent. In saying that, of course, he completely misunderstands the turnover tax. The turnover tax was introduced as a small 2½ per cent but, in a couple of years, it is ten per cent and we may be confidently prepared that it will continue to grow.

That was a Fine Gael advertisement.

It was very clever; we took it from Dublin Opinion.

I thought it was vice versa.

I thought it was very clever of Dublin Opinion.

It seems to me that there is a misunderstanding about this. In a lot of the rural areas at the moment, wherever they have not a dance hall, they have to rely entirely upon marquees, and in these marquees, dances are usually cheaper than they would be if held in dance halls. But they will have no escape from this tax. Practically every hotel I know has a dance hall as a part of the premises, whereas in the rural areas where everybody is trying to provide amenities we will be imposing a tax upon them. I have not the slightest doubt that hotels having a dance hall attached will have no difficulty in providing something like a dinner that will exclude them from the tax but we will be taxing other people who will be better able to afford it.

They will not get get away with that.

One of the things that will require definition is what a dinner is, because there will be all kinds of dinners manufactured now.

Would the Minister direct my attention to the part of the section which provides this exemption where a meal is provided? I have not followed him on this.

It is not in the section.

There are no exceptions in that form. If there is a dance held and a dinner held with it, if the dance is the main function then it is caught. By and large, it would be easy enough to distinguish what is a dance as against a dinner without a dance or a dinner at which dancing is incidental. If there is a band hired—bands are usually hired for these dances—or if there is a resident band in hotels—these will all be caught. For example, where the charge is 25/- to cover a dinner and dance, if a person has to pay 25/-anyway whether he will eat his dinner or not, that kind of thing will be caught as to 25/-, but the suggestion that the hotel proprietor paying 2½ per cent turnover tax anyway will be paying ten per cent on top of that is not correct. He will be paying ten per cent turnover tax in connection with that dance if he is running it himself and he will pay 2½ per cent on the rest of his business. I suppose that we could argue this all night without getting any clearer definition of what is covered, but, in effect, dances are where dancing is the primary purpose or where dancing is run in connection with another function for which a band is employed—these would be the conditions that would be covered under that turnover tax.

I think the Minister has missed my point. I passed away from this question of definition as such. I want to know the authority under this for excluding dancing under the conditions that the Minister mentioned. As I read the section it says that in the case of dances this payment of turnover tax shall be at ten per cent. The Minister would like, reasonably, to exclude certain functions at which other things happen as well as dancing, where speeches are made and dancing is incidental, but he does not seem to have done that. At is stands, if in fact there is a dance, which I take it means a number of people dancing together at the same time, generally with some form of music, regardless of what else happens it falls within this section. On what powers are the Revenue Commissioners able to exercise any discretion in the matter? It does not seem to me that there is any discretionary power.

The other question we discussed was a different one, as to the standard to be employed in applying the definition. It appears to me that if dancing is a sufficiently notable feature of the whole performance that should bring it within the definition which the Revenue Commissioners will apply, with whatever legal authority I do not know, because a partial dance will also be a dance, chargeable at ten per cent. Is this correct? If so, it seems to me to be quite inequitable, and I do not know how the Minister justifies that. If dancing is incidental to a dinner, nothing is taxed, but if it is not incidental then both dinner and dance are taxed, which makes an enormous jump between two conditions which are only marginally different, and I do not think that that can be justified. The mere fact that dancing occurs with a dinner should not bring that dinner within the charge, and certainly if it is simply a marginal difference but that in one case the dance is merely incidental and is not taxed, and in the other both the dinner and the dance are taxed, that is ludicrous and I am quite puzzled as to why it should be done in that way. Surely it should be open to anybody organising a dance to so charge for the dance that the dance charge is distinguished from the cost of the dinner by a reasonable apportionment, the Revenue Commissioners having their usual powers to determine what is reasonable apportionment and how much should be payable on the dance, but to say that in some cases dancing is not incidental to a dinner and both the dance and the dinner should be taxed does not seem to be reasonable. The Minister should reconsider it and let us know on what authority he proposes to exclude certain dances under the section.

The first thing to establish is that there is a dance. The Revenue Commissioners must determine that there is a dance and, therefore, if they are satisfied that there is a dance it is taxable under the section.

We all know what a dance is.

A dance or a ball— the Senator mentioned a ball as well.

I think it should go on to distinguish a dance from a ball.

Let us say it is a ball, or whatever it is called. In any case the Revenue Commissioners will tax it. If the Senator is going to make all these fine distinctions about how much is attributed to a meal and how much to dancing we might as well not introduce this at all. Assuming that a function costs 35/-, by various devices a proprietor can say that he is putting up such a gourmet's meal that he has to charge 34/- for it, leaving 1/- for the dancing content. Then we might as well forget about the dance tax. Every Senator knows that there is an awful lot of dancing done in this fashion. People go to a hotel for a meal and a dance as well. If they go to the dance and in order to get to it they have to have a meal, the whole charge will come under the tax. If they go into the hotel and have a meal and dancing is incidental, then the meal will not come under the charge of tax on dances. There might be two systems whereby you can go to one room for a meal and go into another for the dance, and that dance will be taxed as well. If we are going to exclude the dances for which a substantial meal is served, then the possibility of making this tax effective would be very limited indeed. The effective power is in the section as a whole, where the Revenue Commissioners are entitled to impose turnover tax on what they consider to be dancing. Everybody knows what a dance is.

The Minister now says that the Revenue Commissioners can say that a dance is not a dance even if people are dancing, that they are capable of deciding whether the charge for a dinner at a dance is reasonable or not. They have the power and ability to determine the apportionment as between the cost of the dance and the cost of the dinner, and say that it is reasonable, and they should be able to exercise that discretion. They exercise a similar discretion on all forms of taxation. But if the Minister announces in the Dáil, and is repeating here, that there is going to be distinction between cases, giving them discretion where the law gives them no discretion, if the Minister's intention is to exclude dancing which is incidental, he should not simply be able to decide that he will give them this power, but should put it in the legislation if he wishes them to have this desirable discretion. I cannot understand how the Minister can say that the Revenue Commissioners are going to be in a position to decide that a dance is not a dance, or how it can be suggested that a function at which people are dancing is not a dance, whatever else it may be. If people are dancing at it it is by any possible definition a dance, and must be so regarded, unless the Minister decides—which he is perfectly entitled to do— either to provide some power for the Revenue Commissioners to decide otherwise, or redefines dancing to exclude functions at which dancing is incidental.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 24 to 32, inclusive, put and agreed to,
Schedules 1 to 5, inclusive, put and agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without recommendation, received for final consideration and passed.