HC Deb 14 July 1920 vol 131 cc2527-9

(1) Where any assessment to Income Tax, Excess Profits Duty, or Munitions Exchequer payments for any year or period, or any duplicate of assessment to Income Tax for any year, or any return or other document relating to income Tax, Excess Profits Duty, or Munitions Exchequer payments, has been lost or destroyed, or has been so defaced or damaged as to he illegible or otherwise useless, the commissioners, surveyors, assessors, collectors, and other officers respectively having powers in relation to Income Tax, Excess Profits Duty or Munitions Exchequer payments, as the case may be, may, notwithstanding anything in any enactment, to the contrary, do all such acts and things as they might have done, and all acts and things done under or in pursuance of this Section shall be as valid and effectual for all purposes as they would have been if the assessment or duplicate of assessment had not been made or the return or other document had not been made or furnished, or required to be made or furnished:

Provided that where any person who is charged with Income Tax, Excess Profits Duty, or Munitions Exchequer Payments in consequence or by virtue of any Act or thing done under or in pursuance of this Section, proves to the satisfaction of the Commissioners having jurisdiction in the case that he has already paid any Income Tax, Excess Profits Duty, or Munitions Exchequer Payments for the same year or period in respect of the subject matter and on the account in respect of and on which he is so charged, relief shall be given to the extent to which the liability of that person has been discharged by the payment so made either by abatement from the charge or by repayment, as the case may require.

(2) In this Section the expression Commissioners' means, as the case may require, either the Commissioners of Inland Revenue or the Income Tax Commissioners concerned and the expression 'Income Tax' includes 'Super-tax.' "—[Mr. Chamberlain.]

Brought up, and read the First time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This is a Clause for making provision in eases where assessments and returns have been lost, destroyed, or damaged and is necessitated by the events which have occurred in Ireland, in which certain documents required in connection with assessments to Income Tax have been lost. Without this Clause the tax cannot be collected.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

This Clause is an important one and we are entitled to some explanation as to what is to be done. I know that tax collector's offices have been burned down in that unhappy isle. In the case of these lost or destroyed Income Tax papers, are you going to take the basis of the last year's return or the last available returns, or are new forms to be sent out to be filled up? Having retired from His Majesty's Service, I have had three Income Tax returns sent in this year, and I have filled up each one. Therefore, I see no objection or difficulty in having fresh Income Tax Papers sent out in Ireland, collected, and sent over to this country. I do not like to see any revenue lost in Ireland or anywhere else.


The position is that in the course of the attacks that were made three offices of inspectors of taxes were burnt down and the whole of their contents destroyed. In many other cases books, assessment returns, income accounts and other records were destroyed or damaged or carried off. In some cases the reconstruction of existing records is possible. Information exists in duplicate and missing documents can be reconstructed. In other cases, however, that cannot be accomplished unless we can proceed afresh as if no steps had been taken, beginning again from the beginning. The Clause gives that power, but of course protects the taxpayer against having to pay twice over, though he may be called on to make a return twice over in respect of his liability to the tax in the single year. We all deplore existing conditions in Ireland, but none of us desire, because of these unhappy conditions. that taxpayers who ought to pay their taxes should go free to the injury of the others who are left to pay. This is a piece of necessary machinery.

Clause read a Second Time, and added to the Bill.