HC Deb 02 May 1907 vol 173 cc1049-50

To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state how the Treasuryis secured against fraud in the numerous cases in which the Commissioners of Inland Revenue and Probate Court officials discourage the making of valuations for probate and estate duty by qualified and licensed valuers or auctioneers, and accept instead unchecked guesses or estimates made by unqualified persons who have not seen the property; have cases of abuse of this practice been brought under his notice; do professional valuers and auctioneers pay licence duties; if so, what steps are taken to protect their interests; and can he see his way, in justice to the public, to the revenue, and to those professions, to order the discontinuance of the practice complained of.

(Answered by Mr. Asquith.) Neither the Board of Inland Revenue nor the Probate Court, officials "discourage'' professional valuations for estate duty. They merely do not insist on such valuations in cases where the value of property can be sufficiently determined without expert professional advice. The Board are not aware of any abuse of this concession, and it does not seem to them that the fact that auctioneers and valuers have to pay licenceduty is a sufficient reason for I imposing on accountable parties an obligation to employ them for estate duty purposes where the subject of valuation does not require their assistance.