HC Deb 28 April 1904 vol 133 cc1443-4
* MR. AINSWORTH (Argyll)

I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will include among the subjects to be referred to the Committee on the Income-tax the question of the collection of the tax in Scotland, with a view to putting the proceedings in connection with this on the same footing as in the rest of the United Kingdom.


No, Sir; this would I think, be a retrograde stop. The Scottish system is superior to the English system, and, if there were to be any change, it should be in the opposite direction to that suggested by the hon. Member. But an examination of the merits of the two systems would be outside the scope of the proposed inquiry. As it arises out of this Question, hon. Members may like me to give the exact reference to the Committee which is to inquire into the income-tax system, and to state the names of the members of the Committee, which I was unable to do the other day. The names are Mr. Ritchie. Chairman; Sir H. Primrose, Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue; Mr. Sydney Buxton, M.P.; Mr. Cosmo Bonsor, Chairman of the City Commissioners of Income-tax; Mr. Adam Murray, one of the General Commissioners for Manchester, and joint author of a guide to income-tax practice; and Mr. W. Gayler, Chief Inspector of Stamps and Taxes at Somerset House. The reference to the Committee is as follows:—"To inquire into and report whether it is desirable to effect any alteration in the system of the income-tax, as at present prescribed and administered, under the following heads:—(a) the prevention of fraud and evasion; (b) the treatment of income derived from copyrights, patent rights, and terminable annuities; (c) the allowances made in respect of the depreciation of assets charged to capital account; (d) the system of computing profits assessable under Schedule D on the average of the profits actually realised in the three years preceding the year of assessment; (e) the rules and regulations governing the recovery by taxpayers of overpayments of income-tax."


May I ask if the right hon. Gentleman will undertake that whatever the result of this inquiry the system in the two countries shall eventually be the same?


No, Sir; that would require legislation, and it would be of a very contentious character.