HC Deb 23 April 1913 vol 52 cc341-2

asked whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer's attention has been called to the Darngavil Coal Company case, in which deductions were claimed from Income Tax assessments in respect of payments made by that company to a wagon company under a hire and purchase agreement for a supply of wagons; whether, in terms of a circular recently issued by the Secretary to the Inland Revenue, surveyors of Income Tax were instructed to discontinue the practice of splitting these payments and allowing as deduction in charging the Income Tax such part as was thought fairly to represent hire; whether he is aware that, in deciding the case against the Inland Revenue, the Lord President of the Court of Session commented adversely on the practice of issuing such circulars without taking the advice of Law Officers; and whether he will see that in future needless expense is not thrown upon the public by the neglect of this precaution?


My attention has been called to the case referred to by the hon. Baronet. In May, 1909, when the circular referred to was issued, it was the general (but not universal) practice not to allow any deduction in respect of the payments referred to, and the circular issued to surveyors of taxes endeavoured to secure uniformity of treatment of assessments by the District Commissioners of Taxes on colliery proprietors and others. When issuing circular instructions to their surveyors, the Commissioners of Inland Revenue take legal advice where deemed necessary, but it would not be practicable to submit all such circulars to the Law Officers


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Lord President in his judgment said that any Law Officer who supported the contention of the circular would be supporting nonsense?


The hon. Gentleman is telling me something to which he has not called my attention.