HC Deb 10 March 1891 vol 351 cc592-3
MR. FOLJAMBE (Notts, Mansfield)

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the case of a working man named William Purdy, of Eastwood, in Nottinghamshire, who, while living in a house for which he had never paid more than 6s. a week rent, was assessed for Inhabited House Duty, and, despite his explanations, and before a promised survey of the premises, had a distraint issued on his goods in August, 1889, for the amount of duty demanded; whether a second demand for Inhabited House Duty was made in 1890, and a second distraint only avoided by the payment of the amount claimed, by a neighbour anxious to prevent the disturbance likely to arise; whether, in all, 23s. for duty claimed, and 5s. 6d. for expenses, have been received in respect of this assessment, since declared unjust by the Commissioners; and whether he will request the Inland Revenue Authorities to refund the money?


Two applications were made to Mr. Purdy in the year 1888–89 for a return of the annual value of his house. These applications remaining unnoticed the Local Commissioners of Taxes fixed the assessment at, £23, taking the gross poor rate as a basis of charge. Notice of charge and the date when he could appeal were given to Mr. Purdy, but no communication was received from him in reply, and in the absence of an appeal the assessment was confirmed. No promise was made by the Surveyor of Taxes to go over the premises, but the Surveyor told Mr. Purdy that if he would send in a written notice of appeal he would probably go and look at the premises before the meeting of the Commissioners. No such notice, however, was received, and, as Mr. Purdy refused payment after repeated applications, the amount had to be recovered by distraint. For the year 1889–90 the Charge was continued, but allowed to stand over till an opportunity of appeal had been given to Mr. Purdy. A notice was sent to him that the Commissioners would meet on August 22 last; but as he failed to put in an appearance, the Commissioners again confirmed the assessment, and the duty was only paid after threat of distraint. With regard to the assessment for the current year, Mr. Purdy appealed on November 21 last, and the Commissioners granted relief. For the two years ended April 5, 1890, Mr. Purdy has paid 23s. duty, and 5s. 6d. in respect of expenses of levy as stated. As regards the last paragraph of the hon. Member's question, I must inform him that the House Duty Acts make no provision for revising assessments in respect of past years; and if Mr. Purdy has paid duty to which he was not liable, this has been caused by his refusal to send in the value of his house or to appeal.