HC Deb 15 February 1915 vol 69 cc883-4

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in the case of debts due to traders from enemy countries which are at present irrecoverable, he can indicate the authority who is to estimate the value of such debts under Section 50 of the Income Tax Act, 1853; and whether he will give instructions that will protect traders during the continuance of the War from being taxed upon the heavy losses occasioned through their inability to collect payment of debts due from enemy countries?

The CHANCELLOR Of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd George)

The trader may himself value the debts, his estimate being subject to the authority of the General or Special Commissioners of Income Tax by whom his liability as a whole falls to be determined. The provisions of the law are indicated in the explanatory paper regularly sent out with the form of Return, and are, I think, sufficiently well known to render unnecessary any further instructions on the matter.


How is it possible for anyone to estimate the value of those debts?


The same thing applies to most debts. You can only make the best estimate you can according to the circumstances. I agree the circumstances are novel. I do not see how you can estimate his income otherwise.


In ordinary circumstances in this country, it is possible to make an estimate as there are various, facts to take into consideration, but how on earth can it be done now? It is very important that men should not be penalised in their Income Tax.