§ MR. BIGWOOD (Middlesex, Brentford)
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether the assessments under Schedule A of the licensed victuallers in the Parliamentary Divisions of Ealing and Brentford have been raised to a very large extent; and, if the said assessments have been made by competent assessors, or by whom, and on what basis; whether licensed victuallers in those Divisions have been charged Inhabited House Duty upon the amount paid for goodwill and furniture as well as upon the rent, thereby paying taxes and licences upon capital invested as well as upon the value of the premises; whether the assessors are paid by salary or commission; if numerous complaints have been made to the authorities as to 464 the manner in which the taxes are collected; whether, in consequence of the increased assessments, the charges for licences have been nearly doubled; whether he is aware that the reply to a Memorial on this subject forwarded to the Board of Inland Revenue stated that—Neither the Board nor the Special Commissioners of Income Tax have any authority to interfere,and whether such answer is in accordance with law; and, whether, in reply to the said Memorial, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer stated—That the matter has been decided by the Local Commissioners, whose decision neither the Government nor the Chancellor of the Exchequer personally have power to override;and, if such power is vested in the Local Commissioners without the right of appeal?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
New Property Tax and House Duty assessments were made in 1885 for the parishes comprised in the Parliamentary Divisions of Ealing and Brentford by competent assessors; and the valuations were in some cases increased, not only on licensed victuallers, but in all cases where the previous valuations were considered insufficient. The new assessments for House Duty were based upon what was deemed to be the fair letting value of the premises without including goodwill or furniture. Local assessors are paid by a commission of l½d in the £ of duty collected. As a rule, the valuations for House Duty have been adopted for the year 1886–7 as the basis for charging the licensed duty on premises occupied by licensed victuallers. The increase in the License Duties does not in the aggregate exceed 5 per cent in both Divisions. As to the actual collection of taxes, no particular complaints have been received; but a Memorial as to the assessments was sent to the Board of Inland Revenue in December, 1885, which led to a full inquiry. It is true that the District Commissioners are the judges of the annual value of houses and premises charged to the Income Tax and Inhabited House Duty. The proper values cannot be decided without local knowledge; and no appeal lies from the local commissioners to the Board of Inland Revenue or the Government.