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Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003

Section 297: Armed forces’ food, drink and mess allowances

1217.This section provides that no liability to income tax arises in respect of allowances paid to members of the armed forces, if those allowances are paid instead of food or drink, or as a contribution to the expenses of a mess. The section is the first of two that derive from parts of section 316 of ICTA.

1218.The legislation in section 316 derives from a number of different provisions originally enacted between 1946 and 1951. Those provisions were consolidated first as section 457 of ITA 1952 and then as section 366 of ICTA 1970 before becoming section 316. In the case of Lush (HM Inspector of Taxes) v Coles (1967) 44 TC 169, at 172G, Stamp J described them as containing “something of a hotchpot”.

1219.Section 316 has five subsections, which may be divided into three categories.

1220.The first category consists of subsection (3), which deals with food and mess allowances. Subsection (3) is dealt with in this section. The subsection makes provision for two different categories of allowances; and it has been found helpful to deal with the two categories separately.

1221.The second category consists of subsection (4), which deals with training expenses allowances. Subsection (4) is dealt with in section 298.

1222.The third category consists of subsections (1), (2) and (5). These subsections deal with re-enlistment bounties and gratuities under schemes set up in 1946 and 1950 for certain categories of military personnel who had seen active service, either during the Second World War or in the years immediately following it. So far as may now be discovered, these schemes all came to an end many years ago; and consultations between the Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Defence have led to agreement that these provisions should not be retained. These subsections are not rewritten in this Act on the grounds that they are obsolete.

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