HC Deb 16 July 1919 vol 118 cc553-5

In Sub-section (3) of Section twenty-seven of the Income Tax Act, 1918, the Sub-section shall read as though fourteen days were substituted for forty days. — [Major Newman.]

Brought up, and read the first time


I beg to move, That the Clause be read a second time. This Section 27 of the Income Tax of 1918 deals with the case of a person claiming exemption, abatement, or relief under these provisions of the Act, and Sub-section (3) of the Section lays it down as a Regulation that if the surveyor does not, within forty days after the assessment or within

injustice being done to the Colonies, will go into the Division Lobby with me.


I do not wish to prolong the Debate. I want the Committee to come to a decision as soon as possible, but I desire to say that I cannot recognise the account of my speeches or the facts of the situation as given by my hon. Friend.

Question put, That the Clause be read a second time.

The Committee divided: Ayes, 19; Noes, 76.

Division No. 74.] AYES. 12.32 a.m.
Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.) Locker-Lampson G. (Wood Green) Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander
Davies, Major David (Montgomery Co.) Lowther, Major C. (Cumberland, N.) Williamson, Rt. Hon. Sir Archibald
Entwistle, Major C. F. Macquisten, F. A. Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)
Ganzoni, Captain F. C. Neal, Arthur Young, Sir F. W. (Swindon)
Gretton, Col. John Newbould, A. E.
Hood, Joseph Pennefather, De Fonblanque TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
Inskip, T. w. H. Redmond, Captain William A. A. Shaw and Sir A. Shirley Benn.
Johnstone, J.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Falcon, Captain M. Newman, Major J. (Finchley, Mddx.)
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte Foxcroft, Captain C. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. (Exeter)
Ainsworth, Captain C. Gange, E. S. Parker, James
Allen, Col. William James Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham Perkins, Walter Frank
Archdale, Edward M. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. John Pulley, Charles Thornton
Baird, John Lawrence Griffiths, T. (Pontypool) Raw, Lieut.-Colonel Dr. N.
Baldwin, Stanley Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (Leic, Loughboro') Remer, J. B.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Henderson, Major V. L. Roberts, F. O. (W. Bromwich)
Barnston, Major Harry Hennessy, Major G. Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)
Bird, Alfred Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.) Rodger, A. K.
Borwick, Major G. O. Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel F. Royden, Sir Thomas
Brackenbury, Col. H. L. Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Sanders, Colonel Robert Arthur
Bridgeman, William Clive Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Seager, Sir William
Brown, Captain D. C. (Hexham) Hughes, Spencer Leigh Sexton, James
Bruton, Sir J. Hunter, Gen. Sir A. (Lancaster) Shaw, Tom (Preston)
Campton, Colonel W. R. Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen) Smith, W. (Wellingborough)
Carr, W. T. Law, Right Hon. A. Bonar (Glasgow) Stanley, Colonel Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Cayzer, Major H. R. Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ. Wales) Stephenson, Colonel H. K.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Blrm,, W.) Locker-Lampson, Com.O. (Hunt'don) Strauss, Edward Anthony
Coates, Major Sir Edward F. Lort-Williams, J. Townley, Maximllan G.
Colvin, Brigadier-General R. B. Loseby, Captain C. E. Ward-Jackson, Major c. L.
Coote, Colin R. (Isle of Ely) M'Laren, R. (Lanark, N.) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish University) Malone, Col. C. L. (Leyton, E.) Younger, Sir George
Davies, T. (Cirencester) Mosley, Oswald
Edge, Captain William Murray, William (Dumfries) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord E.
Elliot, Capt. W. E. (Lanark) Nall, Major Joseph Talbot and Mr. Dudley Ward.
Eyres-Monsell, Commander

such further time as the Commissioner with just cause may allow, take exception to the claim, then the claim shall be allowed. My point is that forty days is too long a period to give the surveyor in which he is to make his objection. It means that a man or a woman claiming abatement or any repayment of tax is kept for forty days, if the surveyor so wills it, waiting for the surveyor to make up his mind whether he shall make objection or not. To my mind that is far too long. Already those who claim the repayment of Income Tax or abatements are kept out of their money for six months, or it may be a year. I rather gathered that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer promised me in reply to a question I put to him a few days ago that he is going to make these repayments quarterly instead of half-yearly or yearly as they used to be. If that is the case, I hope he will also in this case reduce the period from forty days to fourteen days. It is my view that forty days is too long; fourteen days will be a reasonable time for the surveyor to make up his mind whether he will make an objection or not.


I am sorry I cannot accept the hon. and gallant Member's proposed new Clause. I have had no evidence at all that any grievance has been felt on the point raised among the general body of taxpayers. I am certain that the Committee will recognise that, having regard to the enormous number of claims, the necessary careful examination of them, and the correspondence sometimes involved, the period of forty days is by no means excessive. I do not think it would be possible to deal with the mass of work that is involved in the full examination of these claims in such a short period without very largely increasing the staff. It is quite true, as the hon. and gallant Member has suggested, that there have been in recent years delays in dealing with these claims. But I would point out that no service has suffered more during the War in the performance of its work than the staff of the Inland Revenue, for the simple reason that the work is very technical, very highly skilled, and that the Department had to send away, under the quota due for military service, a large proportion of men who were absolutely irreplaceable. The great delays my hon. and? gallant Friend has complained about will come to an end. My right hon. Friend (Mr. Chamberlain) has made a very proper concession, having regard to the high rate of Income Tax, in arranging for a more frequent repayment, but I am afraid it will be impossible to give effect to my hon. and gallant Friend's desire by lessening the time and agreeing to a time which would be insufficient for the working of the Tax.

Question put, and negatived.