HC Deb 19 December 1912 vol 45 cc1677-8
59. Sir F. BANBURY

asked the Prime Minister, in view of the fact that the Special Commissioners of Income Tax were established in order that they might occupy a judicial position and constitute an independent tribunal, free from influence of inspectors and surveyors of taxes in appeals against Income Tax assessment, will he explain why it is that the presiding Special Commissioner is now an ex-inspector, another Commissioner an ex-inspector, another an indoor Income Tax official, while the clerk to the Commissioners is an ex-surveyor of taxes, and the two senior committee clerks also ex-surveyors of taxes; and will he undertake that the Special Commissioner to be appointed in the place of Mr. J. B. Atlay, recently deceased, shall not be a tax official, but an independent gentleman of a position in keeping with the objects for which the Special Commissioners were instituted?


With reference to the first part of the question (which is not quite accurate as to facts), it is necessary that a proportion of the Special Commissioners of Income Tax should have technical qualifications for dealing with the numerous questions of Income Tax Law which it is the duty of the Commissioners to decide. The gentleman appointed in place of the late Mr. J. B. Atlay is a barrister and is admirably fitted for the position to which he has been appointed, and I am satisfied that his previous connection with the Inland Revenue (as Assistant Secretary) will in no way affect his independence in his new office.


The new Commissioner is an official, not an independent gentleman.


I do not see that the two descriptions are mutually antagonistic. This gentleman was at one time in the Inland Revenue; he has since been in another Department, and on the whole I thought he was the best qualified to fill the office.