HC Deb 25 March 1895 vol 32 cc45-6

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether the Land Tax chargeable upon a parish is a definite quota, the amount of which is modified only by the redemption of the tax from time to time; (2) whether he is aware that the warrant issued to assessors itself states that the law does not authorise the raising of a greater sum for Land Tax within any place than that remaining unexonerated and payable for such place, naming the actual sum or quota in each parish; (3) if he could explain why, and under what authority, a sum considerably in excess of such quota is frequently levied, especially in small parishes, and what is the limitation, if any, placed upon the possible amount of such overcharge; and (4) whether the whole or a large portion of the surplus Land Tax thus levied is legally payable, with the consent of the Inland Revenue Board, to the assessor whose assessment may have produced the overcharge and consequent surplus as a remuneration of his services?


The facts are correctly stated in the first and second paragraphs, except that the warrant to assessors contains an instruction that the assessment is to be such as to "produce as nearly as possible the amount remaining unexonerated and payable." In answer to the third paragraph, it is often impossible to raise the exact quota—neither more nor less—by an equal pound rate on all the unexonerated properties in a parish, and, as nothing less than the quota may be raised, the yield of the assessment is often in excess of it. The assessment is in the hands of the District Commissioners of Land Tax, and I am not aware of any limitation on their authority beyond the provision that they are to raise "as nearly as possible the exact quota. With regard to paragraph 4, the law does not provide for any direct remuneration being given for assessing Land Tax, but it has vested in the District Commissioners of Land Tax (with the approval of the Board of Inland Revenue) the power of paying over to assessors such an amount of surplus as shall fairly remunerate them for their work. Any surplus beyond that amount goes towards the redemption of the parish quota.