Document Type

Article

Comments

Comment on Ward & Co. v. Commissioner of Taxes, 32 Yale Law Journal 399 (1923)

Abstract

The problem of legal causation has its interest even for the tax-gatherer and the brewer. The income tax law of New Zealand permits the taxpayers to deduct expenditures "exclusively incurred in the production of the assessable income." A brewer expended 2,I231. 3s. I Id. for the purpose of defeating the enactment of a prohibitory law at one of the triennial polls which are provided for by the law of New Zealand. In Ward & Co. v. Commissioner of Taxes (I922, P. C.) 39 T. L. R. 90, the unfeeling Judicial Committee of the Privy Council refused to allow the brewer to deduct his expenditure for the above purpose from the taxable income of his business. It was contended that "it was inequitable that the Legislature should, on the one hand, force a certain class of traders into a struggle for their very existence, and, on the other hand, treat the reasonable expenses incurred in connection with such struggle as part of the profits assessable to income tax." The court, however, was not dealing with equities but with legal causation, and it held that the expenditure in question "was incurred not for the production of income, but for the purpose of preventing the extinction of the business from which the income was derived, which is quite a different thing."

Date of Authorship for this Version

1923

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