19 MAY 1923, Page 13


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—Your country's moral struggles on the taxation of betting recall a humorous detail of the United States income- tax law of 1913. It purported to tax the gains and profits " of any lawful business." It was soon pointed out that gambling, Mrs. Warren's profession and other dubious yet sometimes gainful occupations were unfairly exempted. The next law, passed in 1916, threw such squeamishness to the winds and the phrase became : " Of any business carried on for gain or profit, or gains or profits and income derived from any source whatever." To-day some income-tax is doubtless paid by bootleggers, the United States thus profiting by the breach of its own laws.—I am, Sir, &c.,