36. Captain O'NEILL
asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether he is aware that land on farms such as mountain and waste land which has recently been planted with trees becomes liable for Income Tax, although it would not have been so liable if lying waste and unplanted, and that this is a discouragement to afforestation; whether he is aware that the Inland Revenue authorities claim that land under trees cannot be held to be a farm at all; and whether he will now take the necessary action to ensure that plantation land should be considered as farm land when certified by a forestry inspector to be used for forestry proper, and not only for game, ornament, or shelter, and that Income Tax on such lands should not be demanded?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
Woodlands are chargeable like other lands under Schedules A and B of the Income Tax Acts on their full annual value in their existing condition. They are not regarded as occupied for the purposes of husbandry only, and the occupier cannot therefore elect to be assessed under Schedule D. I understand that the assessment is not regarded as a serious obstacle to afforestation, and I do not think an alteration of the existing law is necessary.
Will the right hon. Gentleman not admit that it is, at any rate, some discouragement to afforestation in Ireland, and would he not consider the advisability of making some alteration in the Income Tax law?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
That involves an alteration much bigger than experimental afforestation, but I think there will be an opportunity of discussing it later on.