HC Deb 24 February 1887 vol 311 cc461-2
COMMANDER BETHELL (York, E.R, Holderness)

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether it is the case that in the years 1886–7 the method of collecting the Income Tax has been altered; whether, previous to 1886, the local tax collectors had to collect the taxes in January and February, and pay in the entire sum on some particular day towards the end of February; whether, in 1886, the collectors received instructions to collect and pay in the taxes weekly, though the general receiving day in February was retained; whether, in 1887, the general receiving day has been abolished, and very peremptory instructions issued as to the weekly collection, and that local collectors who did not act on these instructions have been threatened with fines and legal proceedings; whether he is aware that these changes, which, whether authorized or not, have been in operation in certain country districts, cause much inconvenience, both to the local tax collectors and to the people of the districts; and, if he will cause the irritating instructions referred to, if issued, to be reconsidered?


It can scarcely be said that the method of collecting the Income Tax has been altered, nor has any alteration been made in the months in which the collection takes place; but since January, 1885, the collectors have been required to pay over the amounts in their hands weekly, instead of retaining them till the middle or end of February. This year (1887) the practice of holding so-called "General Receipts" for taxes elsewhere than at the Inland Revenue Offices has been discontinued; the system of weekly payment having shown that it was quite unnecessary to incur the expense of holding "Receipts" away from the collectors' offices. The local collectors are responsible to the Commissioners by whom they are appointed, and are subject to their orders; but I am not aware that any of them have been threatened with fines or legal proceedings. I am not aware that the changes have caused inconvenience at all commensurate with the economy which has been effected, and there is no information at the Treasury of irritation having been caused.