§ MR. KELLY (Camberwell, N.)
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether any reason exists why claimants who have appeared before the Income Tax Commissioners, and have obtained, by the production of their accounts for the three years, a reduction in the assessment of the profits of their profession or trade for the current year, should not, in view of the fact that the decisions are absolutely final, and, also, that claimants in such cases must necessarily have been put to great inconvenience, trouble, and loss of time, be entitled, ipso facto, to relief and repayment of overpaid tax for the previous year, in accordance with the provisions of sec. 133 of 5 & 6 Vict. c. 35, as amended by sec. 6 of 28 & 29 Vict. c. 30; whether, in many such cases, the General Commissioners express the opinion that such claimants ought not to be compelled to come before them a second time, nor be called upon to prove the same thing twice over; but that it is in the discretion of the Surveyor of Taxes to refuse to give effect to such recommendations, on the ground of the claimants having appealed under one section of the Act and not another; and, whether he would consider whether it would be in the public interest that the Board of Inland Revenue should instruct Surveyors of Taxes not to resist the refunding of overpaid tax for the previous year in any case where a claimant has proved to the satisfaction of the Commissioners for Special Purposes, or the Commissioners for General Purposes, that he is entitled to a decreased assessment, and has obtained such decreased assessment for the current year?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
In reply to the first part of the hon. Member's Question, I have to inform him that it need not follow that a parson is entitled to a reduction in the assessment for the past year because he is allowed a reduction for the current year. To establish a 958 claim for reduction for the present year, he must first give notice of appeal and then produce his accounts, and prove to the Commissioners, during the autumn of this year, that the sum assessed exceeds his average annual profits for the last three years; his assessment would then be reduced to the amount of that average. But to establish a similar claim for last year he must first give his notice of appeal as soon after the 5th of April this year as can reasonably be expected, and then prove that the assessment exceeded his actual profits during last year; and he would then be entitled to have it reduced either to the amount of those profits, or to the amount of his average annual profits for the last three years, including the year of assessment, whichever amount is the greater. But if last year's profits were not less than the sum assessed he has no right of appeal, even though the average profits may have been less. With regard to the last two paragraphs of the hon. Member's Question, I would state that no such expression of opinion on the part of the General Commissioners as that quoted has been brought to the notice of the Board of Inland Revenue; but, should a case occur, the Surveyor would be instructed to raise no objection on the grounds stated, provided that the accounts produced by the claimant were satisfactory.