HC Deb 12 May 1884 vol 288 cc11-2

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Whether his attention has been called to a Memorial to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, signed by forty-seven fishermen at Tarbert, Lochfyneside, who have been assessed for income tax; whether it is a fact that, the men have returned their incomes at less than the assessable amount, both the Assessor and the Commissioners, to whom they appealed, although asked to state the grounds on which they pronounced the returns to be untrue, so as to afford them an opportunity of rebutting the evidence against them, refused to do so; and, whether it is usual, without the production of evidence, to pronounce income tax returns false; and, if not, whether he will have the case of the forty-seven fishermen inquired into?


The Government have no legal power to interfere with such decisions of Local Commissioners, who, as my hon. Friend is aware, are not civil servants. The course taken as regards evidence was the only legal one, as the burden of proof rests with the appellant against the decision of the assessor. I have, however, looked into the Papers relating to this case, and there seems to have been ample evidence that the men had understated their profits. The decisions of the Local Commissioners, making abatements in many cases from the original claim, appear to have been well-considered.