MR. GIBSON BOWLES
To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, are the income-tax returns made by private individuals and companies treated as entirely confidential by the Income-Tax Commissioners, or are they allowed to be inspected by, or is information extracted from them given to any other† See (4) Debates, exli., 1477.1175 person, official or otherwise; are the officers of the Estate Duty Department allowed to obtain information regarding the income of private persons or companies from the returns made to, or the a sessments made by, the income-Tax Commissioners; if so, will he state all the officials who are allowed access to the information; and will he further state whether there is any, and, if so, what, statutory authority for the disclosure of income-tax accounts.
(Answered by Mr. Austen Chamberlain.) The Board of Inland Revenue do not consider that any use they may make of income-tax returns within their own Department, and for their own official use, constitutes a disclosure of such returns within the meaning of the provisions of the law relating to secrecy in income-tax matters. Care is taken, however, that only responsible officers should have cognisance of such matters.