Commentary

A2.112 The anatomy of a taxing Act

Administration and compliance

A2.112 The anatomy of a taxing Act

A2.112 The anatomy of a taxing Act

Charging and machinery sections

Each of the taxing Acts that comprise the direct tax code is divided into separate sections. Each section of each of the taxing Acts is deemed to be a substantive enactment, without the need for enacting words other than the Act's initial enacting formula1. In debates on a Bill, the provision that on enactment becomes a section is referred to as a clause (though in the Bill itself the word 'section' is used). Sometimes judges and others refer to sections of an Act as clauses2.

In the taxing Acts it is usual to find a section or sections that impose a charge, and then in the same or subsequent section or sections rules that are to be applied in the assessment of the tax so charged. A section imposing a charge is referred to as a charging section, and a section merely providing rules for working out the charge so imposed is referred to as a machinery section.

Whether a provision is a charging section or merely a machinery section is a question of interpretation, and if what appears to be a machinery section in fact does impose a charge or increase or vary a charge made in another section, the courts must give effect to the charge. In applying the principle, therefore, it is necessary in the first instance to determine which is the charging and which is the machinery provision. It is only when it is determined that a

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