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Norman Vs. Golder (inspector of Taxes). - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Reported in[1945]13ITR21(Cal)
AppellantNorman
RespondentGolder (inspector of Taxes).
Excerpt:
- .....or expenses, not being money wholly and exclusively laid out or expended for the purposes of the trade, profession, employment, or vocation.' it is quite impossible to argue that a doctors bills represent money wholly and exclusively laid out for the purposes of the trade, profession, employment, or vocation of the patient. true it is that if your do not get yourself well, so incurring expenses to doctors, your cannot carry on your trade or profession, and if your do not carry on your trade or profession, your will not earn an income, and if your do not earn an income the revenue will not get any tax. the same thing applies to the food your eat and the clothes that you wear. but expenses of that kind are not wholly and exclusively laid out for the purposes of the trade, profession, or.....
Judgment:
LORD GREENE, M. R. - The appellant has evidently spent a great deal of time and has shown great industry in preparing his argument. He clearly is suffering under some sense of grievance in respect of the assessment, because the substantial point of his complaint appears to be the disallowance of a deduction in respect of medical expenses incurred by reason of the fact that he had to exercise his profession at a certain period in very uncomfortable conditions, and, in fact, as unfortunately it turned out, dangerous to his health, and he feels that he ought to be entitled to have his medical expenses treated as a proper deductible expenses. I think it is not untrue to say that the incidence of the Income Tax Acts on professional men in respect of expenses is not always, perhaps, quite as fair as one would wish it to be, as compared with their incidence on persons carrying on trades or business; but unfortunately we all have to live under it. All we have to do is to administer the law. I merely say that because I do appreciate the appellants feelings on the matter. I am only sorry that he has persisted in his contention as far as this Court, because I am afraid that may involve him in expense which might have been avoided. I may that, because, quite frankly, the various points which Mr. Norman has put forward appear to me, as they appeared to Macnaghten, J., to be entirely lacking in substance. I must say a word about all of them, because Mr. Norman has given us. If I may say so, a very good performance as an advocate in his own cause. He has stated his points with perfect clarity.

[His Lordships dealt with grounds of appeal not necessary to this report and continued :] Turning back to the next point in sequence, that relates to the deduction of his doctors bills. His argument is that they are permissible deductions on one of two grounds - one on general grounds; the other under the wear and tear clauses. I hope I may be forgiven if I say that, so far as the wear and tear argument is concerned, it is quite impossible to say that the taxpayers own body is a thing which is subject to wear and tear, and that the taxpayer is entitled to deduct medical expenses because they relate to wear and tear. It is wear and tear of plant or machinery. Your own body is not plant. Your horse conceivably may be. I do not known what it is under the Income Tax Acts. It certainly has, under the Employers Liability Acts, been held to be plant in a suitable case, but I have never heard it suggested by anybody that the taxpayers own body could be regarded as plant. In fact the point has only, I think, to be stated.

As to the deduction on general grounds the answer, to my mind, is quite conclusive. The rules about deductions are to be found in rule 3 of the Rules applicable to Cases I and II of Schedule D, in which deduction is prohibited in respect of 'any disbursements or expenses, not being money wholly and exclusively laid out or expended for the purposes of the trade, profession, employment, or vocation.' It is quite impossible to argue that a doctors bills represent money wholly and exclusively laid out for the purposes of the trade, profession, employment, or vocation of the patient. True it is that if your do not get yourself well, so incurring expenses to doctors, your cannot carry on your trade or profession, and if your do not carry on your trade or profession, your will not earn an income, and if your do not earn an income the Revenue will not get any tax. The same thing applies to the food your eat and the clothes that you wear. But expenses of that kind are not wholly and exclusively laid out for the purposes of the trade, profession, or vocation. They are laid out in part for the advantage and benefit of the taxpayer as a living human being. Paragraph (b) of the rule equally would exclude doctors bills, because they are, in my opinion, expenses of maintenance of the party, his family, or a sum expended for a domestic or private purpose, distinct from the purpose of the trade or profession.

In the result the appeal must be dismissed.

FINALY, L. J. - I agree.

MORTON, L. J. - I agree.

Appeal dismissed.

Leave to appeal to the House of Lords refused.


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