WAR PRECAUTIONS PARTICULARS TO BE FURNISHED TO COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS BY AGENTS OF OVERSEA FIRMS: NAMES AND PARTNERS OF BRANCHES DIFFERENT FROM THOSE OF HEAD OFFICE: STILL BRANCHES IF BUSINESS AND PROFITS ARE FOR HEAD OFFICE
WAR PRECAUTIONS ACT REPEAL ACT 1920, s. 19 (4) (b) (iv)
The Comptroller-General of Customs has submitted to me the following minute for advice:
E.A. Harris, writing as Attorney for Ford, Rhodes & Ford, Public Accountants, London, has raised the following questions in connection with section 19 of the War Precautions Act Repeal Act 1920:
- What constitutes a branch for the purposes of section 19 (4) (b) (iv) of the War Precautions Act Repeal Act 1920.
The writer states that principals are established under the name of Ford, Rhodes & Ford, at 4b Fredericks Place, Old Jewry, London, which is the head office of the firm.
The London firm has branches in South Africa-at Capetown, Johannesburg, Durban and East London, but these branches are established under another title (Ford, Rhodes, Carter & Co.) and the partners are altogether different to those here.
The London firm has also an office at Bombay, India, and at Colombo, Ceylon, where the partners are again different (Ford, Rhodes, Thornton & Co.) to those in South Africa and Australia. There is an office at Perth, the title of the firm there being Ford, Rhodes & Davies. It is contended by the writers that the only offices of Ford, Rhodes & Ford are the head office in London and their branches at Sydney and Melbourne.
- As to what is intended by the term 'capital', i.e. is the capital of the firm in Australia required? Is it the capital on the other side of the world or is it the capital employed in the whole of the firm's business?
- Regarding question (a) the point is what constitutes a branch for the purposes of the War Precautions Act Repeal Act. The term is not defined in the Act or Regulations.
- I take it, however, that notwithstanding the difference in title and the fact that the partners are not the same, if the various firms mentioned by the writer are really subsidiary to the principal firm in London, the latter receiving revenue from any profits made by the subsidiary firms, they would be regarded as branches for the purposes of the Act.
- As to question (b), it has already been ruled that the information required is the amount of capital in use by the firm, as disclosed by the latest balance sheet issued by the head office of the firm, and embracing the entire business of the firm.
- Perhaps the Collector will consider question (a) of sufficient importance for reference to the Comptroller-General.
The oversea firm in this instance is Ford, Rhodes & Ford of 4b Fredericks Place, Old Jewry, London. Mr Harris, the firm's attorney in Sydney, states that the firm has branches in South Africa at Capetown, Johannesburg, Durban and East London, but the titles and partners of those branches are different from those of the head office.
If the branches in question carry on the business of Ford, Rhodes & Ford of London, and the profits or part thereof are for the benefit of that firm, then, in my opinion, the branches are such within the meaning of section 19 (4) (b) (iv), notwithstanding that the names and partners of the branches are different from those of the head office.
[Vol.17, p. 465]