HC Deb 20 December 1906 vol 167 cc1708-9
MR. C. E. PRICE (Edinburgh, Central)

I beg to ask MR. Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that the notices to pay the income-tax are issued in Scotland from two to three months earlier than they are issued in England, and that a considerable number of persons in Scotland pay the income-tax early in November, some weeks before the notice to pay is issued to the tax-payers in England; and whether he will give instructions that notices to pay be issued on the same date in England as in Scotland.


It is true that the notice of assessment in Scotland also serves the purpose of the first demand note, while in England the notice of assessment is sent separately and the first demand follows at a later date. In each case, however, the demand is issued before 1st January, and makes it clear that there is no obligation to pay before that date. The subsequent demand notes, which are served before any proceedings are taken in cases of default, are issued at the same date in both countries. It appears to be not unusual in Scotland for the taxpayer to pay on receipt of the first notice and before the date on which the tax is legally exigible; but as I have said, there is nothing in the terms of the notice to suggest that he is under any obligation to do so. I need not say that I am most anxious that Scotland should be treated at least as well as any other part of the United Kingdom, and I believe that whatever grievance there may be has arisen from the superiority of the Scottish system, and from the greater promptitude and punctuality of the Scottish people in discharging their obligations.


I beg to ask MR. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will arrange that with regard both to the sending out of notices and collection of taxes Scotland should be treated as fairly as other parts of the United Kingdom.


So far as pressure by the Revenue officers is concerned and the dates at which various degrees of pressure are exercised, the practice in the two countries is now absolutely identical. There is, it is true, a slight difference of procedure as regards the sending out of the notices of assessment and the first demand, on which I would refer my hon. friend to the reply which I have just given to the hon. Member for Central Edinburgh.