HC Deb 29 January 1897 vol 45 cc786-7
MR. ARTHUR JEFFREYS (Hants, Basingstoke)

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the Land Tax is this year being levied on the assessment of the annual value of lands and hereditaments under Schedule A (without any deduction such as is allowed for income tax purposes), instead of on the rateable value of property as hitherto; that an increased amount of Land Tax has in many cases been levied in consequence of this new procedure; and that Land Tax has this year been demanded on certain lands which have hitherto been considered to have been exempt from the tax; and whether he will consider the desirability of instructing the Land Tax Collectors not to alter the basis of assessment on which the tax has hitherto been collected?


It is impossible for me to make any general statement as to the basis on which the various local bodies of Land Tax Commissioners throughout the country, with whom the matter rests, and over whom I have no authority whatever, have made the assessments for the current year. The Land Tax is raised by a fixed quota on each parish, which quota, under the Act of last Session, can in no case exceed 1s. in the pound on the total assessment to Schedule A of the lands in the parish liable to Land Tax; and this quota is unaffected by any change in the method of assessing the various properties in the parish liable to the Tax as between each other. The power of deciding when a new assessment should be made, as between the various properties in a parish liable to the tax, rests with the Commissioners of Land Tax in each district; and when a new assessment is made, it is quite possible that there may be changes in the incidence of the tax on the various properties in the parish, corresponding to changes in their relative values. It is possible also that in some cases property may be brought into charge which, though liable, has hitherto escaped assessment. But, as the total charge on any parish cannot be increased (though, under the Act of last Session, it may be largely diminished), it follows that an increase of the tax on some properties in a parish must be balanced by a corresponding decrease on others. The Act of last Session did not require any alteration of the basis of assessment on which the tax has hitherto been collected.