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1 correction by Moorlock - Show corrections

WIFE'S INCOME. HISTORY OF CURIOUS CASE. The arrest and imprisonment "during the King's pleasure" of Mr. Mark Wilks, the Clapton schoolmaster, who is unable to pay the tax on his wife's income, is to be the subject of nume- rous protest meetings, organised by the Women's Tax Resistance League, during the next few days (said the "Daily News and Leader" on Septem- ber 29). To-morrow the Wilks campaign opens with a demonstration in Trafal- gar Square. On Sunday there will be another mass meeting in Hyde Park, and on Monday a procession will march from Kennington Chdrch to Brixton Gaol, where the central figure in the fight is detained. In addition, a pro- test meeting is to be held outside the gaol every morning, and on Thursday Mr. Bernard Shaw will address a simi- lar gathering in the Caxton Hall. UNDER TWO ACTS. A clear and humorous account of the affair was given to a "Daily News and Leader" representative yesterday by Mrs. Charles Stansfield; a sister of Mrs. Wilks. "Mr. Wilks is in prison," she said, "because he has not got £37 to pay a tax on property he does not own and cannot control. That is really the whole case. Under the Income Tax Act the property of his wife is his property for the purposes of taxation, but under the Married Women's Pro- perty Act it is entirely out of his con- trol. "Every man who is married to a woman with an income of her own is in that position; and if he cannot pay his wife's taxes he is liable to impri sonment. It seems to place an enor- mous weapon in the hands of rich wives." It seems that in 1908 and 1909 Mrs. Wilks refused to make any return of her income either to the Inland Revenue authorities or to her husband, and, in consequence, the furniture, which is hers, was seized and sold. THE SCHOOLMASTER'S PLIGHT. "In 1910," her sister explained, "she claimed that such distraint was illegal, asserting that under the Income Tax Act she, as a married woman, was exempt from taxation. As a conse- quence, all taxes charged upon her were withdrawn, and the authorities con- tented themselves afterwards with making their claim, sometimes on Mr. Wilks, sometimes on both conjointly, and, finally, on him alone. "All this is interesting," she added. "as showing the ridiculous position that arises through the operation of the two Acts. But the serious side of the matter is that Mr. Wilks is in prison for debt, and his position as a master in a London County Council school must be endangered. He does not know for what period he will be in prison, and he has no possible way of settling the debt."

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