§ 8.0 P.M.
- (1) The Parliament of Southern Ireland or of Northern Ireland shall have power either to impose an additional Income Tax or Super-tax (hereinafter referred to as a Surtax) on individuals resident and domiciled in Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland respectively in respect of the total income of those individuals from all sources, or to grant relief from those taxes or either of them to such individuals, and the Surtax may be imposed or the relief given either generally to all such individuals or to individuals whose total income exceeds, or is less than, such amount as may be determined by the Act imposing the tax or granting the relief, and in the case of the imposition of a Surtax, whether or not the individuals are liable to Income Tax or Super-tax.
- (2) The Act imposing the Surtax may provide for its being levied and collected in like manner as Super-tax, and in such case for applying the provisions of the Income Tax Acts as to the levying and collection of Super-tax.
- (3) Such relief as aforesaid shall be granted, by way of repayment of any part or the whole of the Income Tax or Super tax paid by the individuals to whom the relief is granted, and the Act granting the relief may provide for the amounts so re-payable being repaid in like manner as other repayments under the Income Tax Acts.
- (4) The levying and collection of any such Surtax and the making of such repayments shall rest with the Government of Southern Ireland or Northern Ireland, as the case may be, and the proceeds of the Surtax shall be paid into, and the repayments shall be made out of, the Consolidated Fund of Southern Ireland or Northern Ireland, as the case may be: Provided that the Commissioners of Inland Revenue and other authorities and officers by whom Income Tax and Super-tax are levied and collected may at the request and at the expense of the Government of Southern Ireland or Northern Ireland, as the case may be, levy and collect such Surtax or make such payments on behalf of the Government of Southern Ireland or Northern Ireland.
- (5) Sums collected or paid under this Section, whether or not collected or paid by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, shall not be taken into account in determining for the purposes of this Act the amount of the Irish share of reserved taxes.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
I beg to move to leave out the Clause.
My reason for moving the rejection of this Clause is that it gives to the Irish subordinate Parliaments power to levy an Income Tax unlimited in amount, and a Super-tax unlimited in amount, upon every fraction of a man's property, whether situated in Ireland, England, or 1279 abroad. I can conceive that the tax might be justified if it were strictly limited in two respects; if it were limited in point of amount, and if it were limited by a provision such as we have in regard to British and Colonial Income Tax, namely, that double tax shall not be charged, and that a man who pays certain Colonial Income Tax shall only pay a limited amount of British Income Tax. As the Clause stands, it gives to these subordinate Parliaments power to charge Income Tax, unlimited in amount, upon property wherever situated, and there is no relief whatever from double Income Tax. The injustice under the Bill as it stands is only in the case of the domiciled Irishman. The domiciled colonial gets relief. If he pays Colonial Income Tax he pays less Imperial Income Tax; but the unfortunate domiciled Irishman would be called upon to pay full British Income Tax and Super-tax, and full Irish Income Tax to any amount that the subordinate Parliament might decide. The effect would be that if the subordinate Parliaments so choose, a man could be absolutely ruined, and his business wiped out. You would have the Imperial Parliament charging 10s. or 12s. in the £ Income and Super-tax, and the Irish subordinate Parliament, as I anticipate in the South of Ireland, would not be slow to follow the example of the Imperial Parliament. It would say, "The Imperial Parliament charges 10s. or 12s. Income Tax and Super-tax, and we will have at least as much," with the result that the domiciled Irishman would find his income absolutely taken away. I hope I shall succeed in persuading the right hon. Gentleman to withdraw this Clause, but if I do not succeed, I hope to suggest certain limitations which will improve the Clause.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member must take his choice either to move the omission of the whole Clause, or to confine himself to his Amendments in the form of limitations. He cannot do both.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
I was only going to point out that if the right hon. Gentleman were willing to accept certain limitations upon this indefinite power as it stands in the Bill, I should not press my Amendment to leave out the Clause, but if he is unable to tell me that he will accept limitations in order to make the 1280 power a reasonable and just one, I shall have to ask the House to omit the Clause altogether. There is no such thing in existence throughout any part of the Empire as this unlimited power of imposing unlimited income tax without rebate. The unfortunate man who happens to be domiciled in Ireland alone of all British subjects is to be open to this very serious taxation. The right hon. Gentleman may say that the Irish Parliament must have power to raise money by way of taxation, and that is so, but the power must be limited in such a way as to make it reasonable. If you do not introduce restrictions this Clause is in essential characteristics unfair and unreasonable.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Not if the hon. Member moves to leave out the Clause. He must take his choice of either moving to leave out the whole Clause, or else seek to win on one of his Amendments. I have said that I will take whatever course he may elect: I cannot take both.
Would it be in order for me formally to move to leave out the Clause in order that the hon. Member may afterwards move his Amendments?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I am not going to take both. I put the hon. Member on his election to take either one course or the other.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
I am afraid I did not understand that. I thought the point of order was that I must not speak upon the Amendment at any length in moving to omit the Clause. If you rule that if I move to omit the Clause I cannot afterwards move to mitigate its provisions, it is a very difficult matter. I do not suggest that your ruling is wrong, but I thought it was not unreasonable to seek to put some limit upon the powers in the Clause, if the Clause is not left out.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member has forgotten the Rule about passing over. I 1281 put it as delicately as I can. I give him the option to state which course he likes.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
May I amend my election and be allowed to withdraw my Amendment to leave out the Clause and to move the two Amendments standing in my name, namely, to leave out the words "and domiciled" and to leave out the words "from all sources," and to insert the words "arising in Ireland." Shall I be in order if I do not press to leave out the Clause?
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
Then I beg to move in Sub-section (1) to leave out the words "and domiciled" ["resident and domiciled"].
This Amendment must be read in connection with my next Amendment, to leave out the words "from all sources" and to insert the words "arising in Ireland." As the Clause stands, the man domiciled in Ireland has to pay Income Tax on the whole of his income wherever it arises, whether in Ireland or elsewhere. A man resident in Ireland, but not domiciled there, will pay no Income Tax at all, even on his Irish property. I suggest that the fairer way would be to say, that whether a man is resident and domiciled in Ireland, or whether he is only resident in Ireland, he should pay Income Tax upon his Irish property and not upon his whole property. Unless we leave out the words "domiciled in Ireland," a man who has a very large property in Ireland, if he is not actually domiciled there, that is if it is not his real home, will pay no Income Tax there. That is not fair to the Irish Parliament. If a man has a large property in Ireland, and resides there part of the year, the Irish Parliament ought to be allowed to tax him, but only upon the property arising, in Ireland. Another reason why I want to leave out the words "and domiciled" is that if you leave them in, you invite law suits. It is difficult to decide the question of domicile. There have been many costly lawsuits for the purpose of ascertaining the domicile of a man. A man may have two or three houses, and spend a certain amount of time at each place. What is his real home? The unfortunate man who is called upon to pay Irish taxation upon 1282 the ground that he is domiciled in Ireland, does not want to be involved in a lawsuit. He wants to know "aye or nay," am I liable? If the question of his liability depends upon a lawsuit as to his domicile, it is a very serious matter.
The hon. Member has foreshadowed his intention of moving two Amendments. The first one which is to extend the power of the Irish Parliament to those resident in Ireland is very objectionable, but the second one to narrow the power of the Irish Parliament to income arising in Ireland is absolutely necessary, or what becomes of the arguments of the Government that you must not complicate the Income Tax by endless returns. On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, will these Amendments be put separately? I understood that Mr. Speaker said he would only allow one Debate.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
On a point of Order. I understood from Mr. Speaker that I was at liberty to Move both Amendments, but for the purpose of illustrating my meaning on the first Amendment I was allowed to indicate the Amendment standing lower down.
Mr. DEPUTY - SPEAKER (Mr. Whitley)
Does the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds wish to Second the Amendment?
§ Sir J. HARMOOD-BANNER
I beg to Second the Amendment. I do not understand the Clause. If I go to have a little salmon fishing in Ireland and spend three or four months there am I at once to become liable to Income Tax on the whole of my income? As I read the Clause it looks like that. I know one gentleman, formerly a Member of this House, who has started a racing establishment in Ireland. He has got a very nice house with beautiful rock gardens and spends three or four months of the year there. He is a brewer with big profits made here. Would the whole of his income be liable to Income Tax imposed by the Southern Parliament? We are entitled to some little explanation as to what the Bill means.
The hon. Gentleman who has seconded the Amend- 1283 ment obviously does not appreciate what it does, because it docs the very thing to which he objects. It extends liability to Irish Income Tax to those not domiciled in Ireland, but only resident there like his friend who takes the fishing. I am puzzled by the line taken by my hon. and learned Friend who has brought forward this Amendment. It is quite without precedent if you go beyond domicile to limit the liability to Income Tax to those who are resident. There are precedents for taxing all income arising in a country. That is the law in the United States. A British subject who has income arising in America has to pay American Income Tax on it in addition to British Income Tax. There are other precedents for taxing those who are domiciled in a country on what they bring into the country. That is the law, I believe, in this country. I doubt if there is a precedent for making a man liable to Income Tax merely by means of his residence.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
The proposal in the Bill as it was drawn was different. The words "and domiciled" were put in.
The Government would be well advised to leave them there and to make the Bill more consistent with other Income Tax laws. From the point of view of collecting revenue, apart from any question of justice, I understand that you can get to a man who is domiciled in Ireland. Probably he could not get away. From the fiscal point of view to include this man who is resident there would probably produce very little, but it would have a very bad effect upon the influx of capital for Irish industries. Right hon. Gentlemen are fond of telling us that Ireland is enormously rich, when the fact is that her proportion of the wealth of the United Kingdom, which was one-twentieth 25 years ago at the time of the Royal Commission, is only one-fortieth to-day. Even if she is richer, there is no doubt that Irish industries do need more capital, and you will not get that capital from people whose main interests are not in Ireland if by investing capital in an Irish industry they are to be liable for an Irish Surtax which otherwise they would escape. I think that for that reason it is most desirable to limit this surtaxing power as much as we can. Personally, I think that the principle of the Surtax is most objection- 1284 able. The only sound course is either to trust the whole of the machinery for Income Tax and Super-tax to the Irish Parliament, or else to keep the whole machinery over here. The Government are trying to get the best of both worlds. From the point of view of exchequer convenience, no doubt their proposal is very sound, but I do not think that that ought to be the only consideration. One must also take into account justice to the subject. Already we can realise that double Income Tax is objectionable on general grounds. The Chancellor of the Exchequer took special measures to deal with (hat difficulty throughout the British Empire in this year's Budget. It is more than ever undesirable in Ireland because of the special conditions of political life. The majority of the dominant political party is below the Income Tax and Super-tax line.
The hon. Member is arguing on the question of leaving out the words "and domiciled." He seems to be going beyond that point.
The Debate took rather a general line when Mr. Speaker was still in the Chair. I apologise if I have gone outside the particular Amendment, but what I feel is this. Though prompted by the excellent motive of lightening the burden of the man domiciled in Ireland, I do not sec that this would get over the real difficulty. Therefore, I am against any of these, as I may call them without disrespect, tinkering Amendments, because they do not get you out of your fundamental difficulty that this, is certain to be used unjustly, and it is playing steadily into the hands of the enemies of this country and facilitating the destruction of that section of the population who have been loyal to the British Empire.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I cannot understand why my hon. and learned Friend has moved this Amendment. In my judgment, the whole of this part of the Clause, which gives the right to impose a second Income Tax and Super-tax, is most vicious and shows really the impossibility of double taxation on the same tax. You leave this Parliament to tax as much as it likes by means of Income Tax and Super-tax, and then you say to the other Parliament, "You can do exactly the same thing." Which gets 1285 precedence I do not know. Suppose the tax here is 15s. in the £,and the Parliament in Ireland puts on another 10s. or 12s. It is plain that one or the other will have to give way, because there will not be enough to pay the whole of the taxation of the two Parliaments. That shows the unwisdom of setting up two powers of taxation on one asset. That is really what it comes to. You ought to allow the subordinate Parliament to tax, but it ought to be on taxable assets which are not touched by this Parliament. What would be the result of the Amendment? It would be to increase the power of the Irish Parliament and to give them jurisdiction to tax any man who happens to have a residence in Ireland. I should prefer an Amendment to strike out the word "resident" and to confine it to those domiciled in Ireland. That seems a far more legitimate way. If we accept the Amendment, and if I happen to have a house in Ireland and go over there for a couple of months in the year, the Irish Parliament will be able to tax the whole of the income and assets I have, in whatever part of the world they may be. The only thing I could do would be to ask Sinn Fein to burn down my house. I could then apply for compensation from the county and get out of the place as fast as I could.
My hon. and learned Friend says that the word "domicile" will lead to a great deal of litigation. That would be a very good thing, but it is another argument against the method of allowing this double taxation. I believe in litigation myself. I recall that when I was Solicitor-General there was a case of a wealthy American who lived all his life and established his family here. Three judges of the first Court held that he was domiciled in this country. The case was then taken to the Court of Appeal, and three judges held that he was domiciled in this country. That made a total of six judges who held the same view. The case then went to the House of Lords, and four judges dealt with it. At the end of a week they could not give judgment because two were one way and two the other. They therefore reserved judgment, but one of those who was going to hold that the American was domiciled in this country happened to die, and by a majority of one they over-ruled seven judges. I mention that only to show 1286 that we are creating a vast amount of litigation by this proposal. Reference has been made to those who might go to Ireland for fishing, or who might own a hunting box or a racing stable. Such people would have to get out of Ireland and make a fresh start elsewhere. That would be very disastrous and very unfair.
§ Mr. M. MACDONALD
I think the Government ought to reconsider this Clause as a whole. The subject is extremely complicated, but there are certain general features of it that are quite clear. The United Kingdom Parliament is to continue to impose Income Tax on the United Kingdom as a whole, and out of that Income Tax it has to contribute a certain proportion to Ireland; in other words, it has to determine out of the Imperial Income Tax what is the amount of revenue that arise from the tax in Ireland. That is done under Clause 21 without any reference to domicile at all. In Clause 24 the Irish Parliaments are given power simply to vary the Imperial tax. It is not true that they are given power to impose a second Income Tax. No doubt it is a second Income Tax, but under the Bill it is a power only to vary the Imperial tax; the phraseology is perfectly clear.
§ Mr. R. McNEILL
That is quite true, in one sense. It varies the rate, of the Imperial tax, but it does not affect the collection of Income Tax on the same income by the Imperial Parliament.
I agree. The Irish Parliaments are given power to add to or subtract from the Imperial tax. What I want to know is, why the Government do not use the principle of domicile in determining what portion of the Imperial tax, the tax imposed and collected by the Imperial Parliament, is derived under that tax from Ireland, while it is proposed to use the principle of domicile in determining the individual on whom the Irish tax is to fall. There is another point suggested by this Amendment. The Bill gives the Irish Parliament power to collect additional Income Tax. Suppose that the Irish Parliament imposes no tax at all, or suppose that the Irish Parliaments say to the Imperial Parliament that they will reduce the tax by 1s. It is to be reduced, I suppose, only in the case of those domiciled in Ireland?
§ Mr. HENRY
The hon. Member who seconded the Amendment was as anxious as the Government are anxious that persons simply resident in Ireland should not be liable for surtax, and for obvious reasons. You might have a case of people going over for sporting purposes, or for other causes, and who brought a good deal of money into the country. Those men should be encouraged to go there, and no barrier should be erected against persons on this side who wish to be resident there. But it is quite another matter when the men is not an Englishman, but an Irishman, and that is the really popular way of putting it. An Irish Member of Parliament may come here and live most of the year here, but no one would ever mistake him for an Englishman, or suppose that he was domiciled here.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
There is great difficulty in finding out if a man is domiciled in Scotland, and the same thing would apply in Ireland.
§ Mr. HENRY
They are domiciled in Ulster. The proposal in the Clause seems to me perfectly reasonable. It limits the taxation on persons who are not really Irishmen and throws the taxation on those who live in Ireland and bring up their children as Irishmen or Irishwomen. People who are resident there for a short time or at certain times are not domiciled there. The real reason I think for putting forward this proposal is to spread the area of taxation over people who happen to be resident for a short time in Ireland and in that way lighten the burden. That is a proposal we could not accept. As regards the point put by the right hon. Member (Mr. M. MacDonald) it does not really arise.
§ Mr. MACDONALD
You do not adopt the principle of domicile in determining what amount of Income Tax is 1288 to be given to Ireland in the reserved taxes, and why do you adopt it here?
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "from all sources," and to insert instead thereof the words "arising in Ireland."
I hope to have the support for this Amendment not only of the Irish Members but of many English and Scottish Members as well. By the Bill as it stands a man domiciled in Ireland is liable to pay Income Tax to the Irish Parliament not only upon the whole of his income arising in Ireland from land or dividends from Irish companies, or whatever it may be, but he is liable to pay Income Tax upon every fraction of income he has from any source, such as from land in England or in any other way. I suggest that is a very great hardship because it is not disputed that although the man is domiciled in Ireland he is actually liable for the tax imposed by the British Parliament upon the whole of his income wherever it is situated. I quite agree with my right hon. Friend (Mr. Murray MacDonald) that it seems rather unnatural that a man domiciled in Ireland should be liable to British Income Tax upon the whole of his property from wherever derived. The anomaly and the injustice, as I call it, is that an unfortunate man, because he is domiciled in Ireland, who is already liable to Income Tax at the British rate upon all his income, should under this Bill be liable to be taxed in Ireland upon the income of all his possessions, so that whereas now he may pay 10s. or 12s. in the £ Income Tax, the moment the Bill is passed he may be liable to pay another 10s. or 12s. Income Tax to the Irish Parliament. That is too large a price to pay for the advantage of domicile in Ireland. I can quite understand the Government saying that the Irish Parliament must have some power of taxing in respect of property in Ireland, but I do not understand why they should say that because a man is domiciled in Ireland the Irish Parliament should be able to tax him on 1289 every farthing he has in the world. The effect of my proposal is that the Irish Parliament could only tax him in regard to the property he has in Ireland.
My right hon. Friend might say that it is very difficult to say what income does arise in Ireland. My answer is that in the vast majority of cases there is no difficulty at all. Income from land in Ireland arises in Ireland, income from a business carried on exclusively in Ireland is equally derived in Ireland, and as regards income from businesses which are carried on both in Ireland and elsewhere, if the company has its central control in Ireland, then any income the company gets could be defined as income arising in Ireland. I therefore think it is quite easy to get a simple definition as to what is income arising in Ireland and what is not. The other objection which may be urged against the Amendment is this, that if you exempt from Irish Income Tax the income of English property it is a direct inducement to every Irishman to take his property and investments out of Ireland and to put them into England or elsewhere. I grant that there is something in that, but if you are going to say that a man domiciled in Ireland must pay tax on the whole of his income from wherever derived, is not that an almost irresistible inducement to him not merely to take his property but to take himself also out of Ireland and to establish his home elsewhere in order to escape the marauding tendencies of an Irish Parliament? I beg my right hon. Friend to see if he cannot accept this Amendment, which seems to me perfectly reasonable in itself. It would save the unfortunate domiciled Irishman from being absolutely ruined by Income Tax. He probably would have plenty of rates in Ireland, he would have Death Duties in Ireland, and he may have many other taxes in Ireland, but we ought not to give the Irish Parliament power to tax him for the purpose of Income Tax on all his property.
§ Mr. R. McNEILL
I beg to second the Amendment.
I do so on two grounds. The first is in the interests of just taxation, and secondly, and quite as strongly, on the ground of the interests of the revenue in Ireland. It is obvious that it must be in the interests of everybody who desires these Parliaments in Ireland to be successful that Ireland should attract as much Income Tax as possible 1290 and refrain from driving out as much Income Tax as possible. It appears to me that unless this Amendment is accepted the effect must inevitably to be to drive a considerable- amount of Income Tax out of Ireland, because in spite of what the Attorney-General said on the last Amendment, there are a great many people, even those who are not merely resident but domiciled in Ireland, whose roots are not so very deep, but what they could be cut adrift, and however reluctantly many men would sever their connection with Ireland, of which they are very fond, in these days of very high taxation and of high prices it might very well be that a man would find that in the ordinary process of economising his resources it remained impossible for him to keep up a connection with Ireland, where he might be subject to this taxation, and also a connection with England or Scotland, where he might have business and where he would also be subject to this very high taxation. He might have to make a choice, and probably in many cases he would be driven to choose as his future residence and domicile England or Scotland in preference to Ireland, with very considerable loss consequently to the revenue in Northern or Southern Ireland as the case might be.
There is another reason why we should accept the Amendment. I do not see how the Clause as a whole is going to work if a man domiciled in Ireland is to be liable to a surtax and entitled to a rebate on the income which is derived from all sources. Let me assume that an Irish Parliament was going to exercise the power given here to grant relief from those taxes from all sources. If a man has got a large income derived from a great many different sources, it may be from land in Ireland, land in England, shares in a shipping company, it may be a man like Lord Pirrie, who has been mentioned earlier in this Debate, with very vast resources, deriving income from all sorts of enterprises, how will it be possible for the Parliament of Northern Ireland where Lord Pirrie may be resident and domiciled, to grant relief from Income Tax payable on his income from all sources? The Imperial Parliament exacts from him some 12s., 13s., or 14s., whatever it may be, in Income Tax and Supertax, and the Irish Parliament will have no power and no machinery by which it can grant him relief from Income Tax on income derived from all sources, but [...] 1291 the taxes in Ireland were confined to income arising in Ireland, then it might very well be possible that, over that limited field which is under their jurisdiction, they would be able to grant the relief which this Clause purports to give. But I do think, before this Amendment is rejected, one of my right hon. Friends ought to explain how it is possible, apart altogether from the desirability of it, as a more matter of taxing machinery, to grant relief as the Clause stands now in the Bill. Even if they can solve the problem, I still think, on the ground of just taxation to individuals and in the interest of the revenue, it is most desirable that the limitation should be accepted which has been moved by my hon. and learned Friend.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. SUGDEN
I would like to support the Amendment for two reasons. I feel that if we are to give that assistance to the two Parliaments which we hope to have established in Ireland, we must certainly do all we possibly can to give the business interests of the community their fullest possible outlet, and, as a plain business man myself, I beg to say that there is nothing so detrimental to the enlargement of opportunity and enterprise to any industry and any business as uncertainty in respect to taxation. I have very carefully considered the Clause now under consideration, and also the Amendment, and I say without any hesitancy it will be extremely difficult for any business man properly to focus and assess the amount of taxation which will be put upon his wares or his business or manufactures to get the result he would desire unless the Amendment is accepted. If there is to be the proper opportunity for a business man in Ireland to expand his business, and to retain in employment the people in his own locality, it is vitally essential that taxation should only apply to the properties which are under his immediate consideration. There is another and a second reason. If the whole of the income is considered, we shall have the same anomalies which prevail in respect of Income Tax in this country, and in regard to foreign countries and the Dominions. Neither the Mover nor the Seconder of this Amendment have dealt with the bearing of taxation in respect to the colonies. We know how difficult it is. I 1292 challenge any business man in this House to-night to show how it is possible to focus correctly and decide the proportion of taxes which he must add to cost of the wares he produces in Ireland, if some of his supplies came from his works in any other country, if he has holdings in any other businesses in another country. He may be buying his rubber from the Malay Straits. He may have certain subsidiary companies in India in respect to the manufacture of tyres. He may be obtaining special cotton and French cotton goods for his Irish industries, and if he has any holding in any foreign country, and especially in South Africa (which has a most intricate Income Tax), it is impossible for him to ascertain the exact cost of his wares, because of the impossibility of costing his taxes. Therefore I do suggest that the Government might very properly accept the Amendment proposed by my hon. and learned Friend, and give the industries, and necessarily the employés who depend and rest upon the industries more particularly than they do either upon the professions, or especially the agricultural industry the surety which they will have if our Amendment is accepted.
§ Mr. INSKIP
It is unfortunate that this matter should come up for discussion in a small House, under somewhat similar conditions to those in Committee when this subject was discussed, and the matter was dealt with by the right hon. Gentleman, I think, in moving the Clause. It was dealt with in a perfunctory manner, although it appears to me to be of the most vital importance, and is one of the critical questions which are not of obvious interest, but which contain the germs of a great trouble between this country and Ireland. The suggestion has been made that the introduction of the word "domiciled" has removed the difficulties that exist. I do not take that view. I think it has increased the importance of this Amendment. The whole Clause seems to be so full of difficulty that I can hardly imagine how it is going to be put into operation. I am certainly not a financial expert, and I know very little about the Income Tax, but I understand this proposal is to allow the two Parliaments to impose what is called an additional tax; that is to say, a tax over and above the other taxes to which an Irish subject domiciled in 1293 Ireland is liable. That is to say, a man who has property in Northern Ireland and in Southern Ireland, if he is resident and domiciled in one of those places, may be subjected to a surtax in respect of the whole of the property in both those parts of Ireland.
I understand from the right hon. Gentleman that, assuming a subject to be resident and domiciled in Southern Ireland, and to be subject to this additional tax in respect of the whole of his property which he has in Northern Ireland or in this country, he will still be subjected to the regular taxes which the Parliament of Northern or Southern Ireland and the Parliament of Great Britain may decide to impose. That is to say, he will be subjected to the tax of the Northern Parliament on his property and to the tax upon his ordinary property in this country, and he will be subjected to the additional tax imposed by the Southern Irish Parliament in respect of the property, and for all I know—and I have considered it to the best of my ability— I am bound to think that the taxation that will fall upon him in respect of his property in this country will be assessed in respect of the value of his property in all parts of the United Kingdom. Of course, if the right hon. Gentleman, with the knowledge which he has, tells us that that is not so, I am sure the House will be only too glad to be corrected; but I think I am right in that, namely, that the property in Great Britain of any Irish subject who has to pay this additional tax in Ireland will be assessed at the rate of tax which is applicable to the property of the total value estimated by reference to his property in all parts of the United Kingdom.
That seems to me—I do not say a monstrous proposal, because one wants to dispose of this question, if possible, by argument—but it is a most objectionable proposal. The proposal too is all the more curious because as a tardy act of justice we have tried in this House to remove the anomaly of a double Income Tax from the property of citizens in the outlying parts of the Empire. At the very moment that we have recognised the separating effect of a double Income Tax —because it has a separating effect—and have removed the anomaly by the Finance Act of this year, at that very time we are imposing a double Income Tax by 1294 an Act which I am sure is not intended to separate Ireland from Great Britain, but is supposed to maintain the union, and at the same time secure the, better government of Ireland. I am not quite certain, and I have not been able to look the matter up, but my recollection of the Committee stage, and the discussion there is that reference was made to what Burke said on the matter more than 100 years ago. It showed what a separating effect this duplication of taxes has upon a country, and that one of the ways of keeping the different parts of the Empire united is, as far as possible, to simplify and co-ordinate taxation. Of course, it may be necessary in so far as local matters are concerned to have taxes collected locally upon property situated in a locality, but so far as possible—and this is obvious, I should think, to every Member of this House—it is not desirable that anybody should be subjected to a double tax on respect of the same property.
I want to point out as one objection, that the property of a subject resident and domiciled in Southern Ireland is not only subjected to a tax on his property there, but to all his property and everywhere. Take the converse case. You have some subjects of vast wealth who have a great deal of property in Ireland, and who are neither resident in Ireland or domiciled, though they have both to be covered by this taxation. They are neither resident nor domiciled. There is one case, which I daresay will be in the minds of hon. Members—though I do not think it is necessary to mention particular cases—of the man who has a very large income from house property in Dublin. If, as I believe, he has neither residence nor domicile in Southern Ireland, the whole of that property will escape. It pays other taxation, it will be taxed by this Parliament, but actually it escapes the scope of this measure, or, rather, it will not participate in the act of injustice which this Section will cause.
I apprehend that the Southern Parliament will say when it is making up its Budget: "We require so much on this additional Surtax." If the people who regard property as entailing certain duties reside in Ireland, they will be taxed not only in respect of their property, but their property everywhere. Those who seek to evade their responsi- 1295 bilities in Southern Ireland, either by changing their domicile, or changing their residence, will not share in the burden of contributing towards the £5,000,000 or £10,000,000 a year, or whatever it is, which is to be collected by the imposition of a Surtax. I conceive that to be an injustice, because by deliberately evading their duties by residence in the country where they have property, and taking an interest in the management of their property, they evade the obligation which rests upon those who take a different view of their duty to their country, and they escape the taxation which this Section allows to be imposed. It appears to me such an act of injustice that I did my best to draft an Amendment. The Clause, however, as read, is such a difficult one—as my hon. Friend below me has pointed out—and so impossible to understand when it speaks of the relief that it may grant, that it certainly taxes my small ability, and I believe would tax anybody's ability, however great, to draft a proviso, exception, or terms which will provide against the injustice which I have just mentioned.
How can it be right that a Clause which loads to injustice should be allowed to retain a place in the Bill, especially when the remedy is so easy, that is, to leave out these words. Then you will get what everybody conceives to be, and might agree was, just, namely, that each of these Parliaments shall tax the property which comes within its reach and within the dominion of its government. I shall listen with the greatest respect to what my right hon. Friend has to say, but—and I say it with all respect—what he said on a previous occasion did not carry, to my mind certainly, conviction. It is not that I want to rob either of these Parliaments of the power of collecting the necessary revenue, but I do seek to secure equal distribution of whatever burdens may fall upon the taxpayers of these two different parts of Ireland. I want to avoid anything that will tend to separate either of them from this country. I want to avoid anything that will drive people out of their country, although they may retain property there.
I could give the right hon. Gentleman cases within my own knowledge where persons are taking steps to cease to be domiciled, to cease to be resident in 1296 Ireland, in order to evade so unjust a Clause. If this is the effect of it, surely it cannot be a Clause which is either politic or equitable. Surely the right hon. Gentleman does not suggest it is. Not that human nature is necessarily wrong or bad. But would not human nature do this; seek to leave a country residence in which causes such unfair obligations? I do hope the right hon. Gentleman the Minister without Portfolio will reconsider the Clause, which I think the Government must have put in without proper consideration, and will seek to do something more like justice to those who will be affected by these words. Amendment would not affect the structure of his Bill. I do not think any Amendment could possibly affect the finance of the Bill. I would suggest that by omitting these words, and accepting the Amendment which has been moved, he will be promoting, or at any rate not further weakening, the bond between this country and Ireland, and I am sure he will introduce a feeling of satisfaction and readiness to make his Bill workable amongst those people who will be most affected by this Clause.
§ Sir L. W0RTHINGTON-EVANS
I think if my hon. Friend had considered a little more carefully this Amendment he would have seen that what he was proposing would lead to much wider evasion than he fears. His proposition is that people both resident and domiciled in Ireland might leave Ireland to escape this surtax, but he is proposing that those who remain in Ireland should be freed from surtax provided they send their capital outside the jurisdiction of the local parliament.
§ Mr. INSKIP
Surely that would be fair and proper, because all that property would be subject to the tax for Imperial purposes.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON - EVANS
Nevertheless, the people domiciled in Ireland are living there for business purposes and of their own choice, and they would be evading the power of taxation by the local parliament. If my hon. and learned Friend's point is that this Clause as it stands is likely to cause people to remove out of Ireland to evade the tax, how much more would there be evasion if his Amendment became law. It is infinitely easier to send £100 over from Ire land to England for investment than to 1297 pack up your traps and bring yourself ever here. It is much more easy to send your capital over. If you agree to this very serious injustice, people who are living in Ireland and living under the Irish Parliament would, if they kept their money in their own country and developed their own industries, which is something my hon. Friend naturally desires, be taxed, whereas if they did not develop their industries and did not use their money in their own country they would be free of tax. That is a definite preference as against using their own money in their own country, and a preference in the case of sending it abroad. I could not accept this Amendment because it would have such a ludicrous effect.
The hon. Member for Bristol (Mr. Inskip) said that this proposal was subject to the same objection as the double Income Tax, but surely that is not very accurate thinking. The objection to the double Income Tax is that this country taxes a man on his whole income and that the Colony or Dominion docs the same thing. Here the local Parliament will know that under the English Income Tax, in which we are interested—in the Dominions they get no benefit from the tax levied here—they get their share of the full tax levied here. They will know exactly what the subject is liable to and then they will put the surtax on the balance. It is somewhat confusing to talk about this as a double Income Tax which arises where both of two parties are interested to get as much as they can and keep as much as they can out of the taxes placed upon themselves. In this case the English Parliament are levying the tax but the Irish Parliament benefit to the fullest extent. Surtax is only paid upon the balance. My hon. and learned Friend says it is one thing to have taxes collected locally, but these taxes are not collected locally unless arrangements are made with the Imperial Income Tax collector to collect as agents for the local Parliament. Otherwise the local Parliament do collect locally. The Member for Canterbury (Mr. R. McNeill) found some difficulty about the question of relief. I do not think he sees how the relief Clause will work. Let me call attention to the actual provisions of the Clause. Subsection I saysRelief given either generally to all such individuals or to individuals whose total income exceeds, or is loss than, such amount 1298 determined by the Act imposing the tax or granting the relief.The hon. Member seems to find difficulty in seeing how such a relief could operate. The local Parliament might say that everyone with an income of under £200 or £300 a year should be entitled to such and such a relief equal to 2s. in the £1 of the tax, or any figure that they choose. The relief can be limited to a class of persons, or it can be limited to income, and this is clearly set out in the Bill. Therefore there is not the slightest foundation for the doubt which my hon. and learned Friend appears to entertain.
§ Mr. R. McNEILL
The right hon. Gentleman is not dealing with my point, which is a question of machinery. If a man in the country who had £5,000 a year in Government loans and the Income Tax is deducted before the money is paid into his bank, he has paid Income Tax at 6s. in the £1. How is a Parliament in Dublin going to give him relief from that?
§ Sir L. W0RTHINGT0N-EVANS
If the Parliament in Dublin or Belfast had so much surplus income as to dream of giving relief to those with £5,000 a year, I could show the hon. and learned Member how that could be done.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
The relief is more likely to be given to people with low incomes. Anyone below £100 could make a claim for a return of tax, and if there be, any surplus funds they could be repaid. At present, under the finance of the Bill, there will be an estimated surplus of about £2,250,000 in the North, and something like £7,000,000 of surplus in the South. Out of their own funds they are invited to give such relief as they choose by Act of Parliament to provide. As for the machinery there is no difficulty about it. They can say to anyone who is under £100 or £5,000 a year, as the case may be, "Come and claim relief and you shall have it on such and such grounds, either because your income is low or that you have many children or large education expenditure." They can differentiate as they choose, and they can grant relief accordingly.
§ Mr. McNEILL
Am I to understand that the provisions of this Clause for 1299 relief apply only to very small incomes because the Clause actually says that they may grant relief from those taxes, that is from an additional tax or Supertax? Are the large payers of these taxes to get no relief at all, and, if so, how are they to get it except by a payment out of this small surplus. In future years there may be no surplus.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
That will be a matter for the decision of Parliament itself. It may say to a man with £5,000 a year, upwards or downwards, "We will grant a relief of 6d. in the pound on the Income Tax or Super-tax which you have paid, and you will have to claim it by returning a statement of how much you have paid and what your income is, and then at a certain office you will be able to get a cheque for the amount of rebate." Where the money is coming from must depend on what surplus income there is. There is a surplus to start with of 2½ millions. I do not say whether it is adequate or not, but local taxes may be devised which may be preferred to Income Tax or Super-tax, and the Parliament may raise money in that way to give relief to Imperial taxation. The object of this Clause is that there shall be as much freedom as possible to the local Parliaments in this matter. There are many grave difficulties in breaking up the single tax system of the United Kingdom, and it is in order to give freedom without breaking that system up that this Clause has been inserted in the Bill. I am certain that as regards relief these are very valuable provisions. If you are going to give a Parliament power to surtax you must trust it. If it is going to tax people out of existence then the local people will have to see to it that the same Members are not again returned to that Parliament. I cannot accept the remedy suggested here that the tax should only be payable on income arising within the jurisdiction of the Parliament. That would nullify the object with which this Clause was inserted; it would bring about really serious hardships detrimental to the future prosperity of Ireland, because if Ireland wants anything at all it wants to attract capital and not to make it remunerative for those who are resident and domiciled in Ireland to send their capital for investment abroad.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I only desire to ask this question. Suppose a man has a very small income derivable from Ireland and a very large income in England, Scotland, or elsewhere. Would you give the Irish Parliament power to come over and seize his property here in order to pay the Income Tax? Would the local Parliament have jurisdiction to do that? If not, how is the money to be recovered? Are they simply to say, "We will make you bankrupt over in Ireland," and then is the jurisdiction of the Court of Bankruptcy in Ireland to extend to the man's property over here? The truth of the matter is that the whole of this section is absolutely unworkable. You cannot possibly have two different Parliaments taxing the same assets. Which is to have priority? Suppose they each put on the same Income Tax. Suppose the Irish Parliament, wanting money for various reasons, puts on the same tax as is imposed here. There is only 20s. in the £, after all, except under this Bill. Who is to have priority? My right hon. Friend says that one must give the fullest possible power of taxing to the local Parliament, but this Bill does not do that. Can they impose additional Customs? Can it impose additional Excise? If not, why not? It cannot, because you say that this Parliament must have sole control over Excise and Customs. That is quite right. I do not believe you could work it in any other way. So long as you leave unlimited power to this Parliament to charge what Income Tax or Super-tax or Excess Profits Duty it chooses, it is utterly inconsistent that you should leave to a subordinate Parliament exactly the same rights to put on as much Income Tax, Super-tax, or Excess Profits Duty as it may think proper. That is really taxation in absurdity. You are really declaring by this Bill that the Imperial Parliament and the subordinate Parliament may each take away the whole income of a man. I think the Government should toll us that they will look into this matter again. This Amendment, as I understand it, seeks to limit the subordinate Parliament's power of taxation to income which arises in Ireland. I do not believe it is possible to allow a subordinate Parliament in Ireland to tax a man's assets and income in this country while, at the same time, laying it down that the Imperial Parliament may tax 1301 him as much as it likes. It is inconsistent, and therefore I support the Amendment.
§ Mr. M. MACDONALD
The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken (Sir E. Carson), has been making suggestions which are not justified by the facts. In numerous cases there are two taxing authorities with power to tax the same article and without limit to that power. The proposal contained in this Clause is intended to give the Irish Parliaments some powers to adjust the revenue which it receives to the expenditure for which it is responsible. It presupposes that the powers which they possess over other sources of revenue are not sufficient for their purpose. I agree that the right hon. Gentleman cannot accept this Amendment without altering the whole character of the financial provisions of the Bill. Personally, I would not support the Amendment for that reason. That leads me to the consideration of difficulties with regard to working. Let us assume that the Imperial Parliament after the Bill comes into operation adds to the Imperial Income Tax 1s. in the pound, an addition which the Irish Parliaments regard as unnecessary to meet their expenditure. Remember the contribution is a fixed contribution and does not vary according to the proceeds of the tax. Suppose 1s. is added to the United Kingdom tax and levied by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue for the United Kingdom, and the Irish Parliament comes to the conclusion it is unnecessary for them to have the proceeds of that shilling in order to meet their expenditure, how are they going to repay it? I am assuming for the moment that there has been set up a separate Exchequer and separate Inland Revenue Commissioners in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman said a man could re-claim the abatement from the Irish Exchequer, but the Irish Exchequer has never received the money.
§ Mr. MACDONALD
That meets that point, but there is another point closely connected with it. They are going to
§ have the power of imposing and collecting their own separate Income Tax and Surtax. The Income Tax they levy for their own purposes, apart altogether from that levied for Imperial purposes, and they are going to impose the tax on the total income. How are they going to discover the total income if they collect it themselves? They cannot, obviously, tax it at the source. They could tax at the source only in so far as revenues derived from Irish sources were concerned. They could not tax at the source so far as incomes derived from English sources or from Scottish sources or from foreign sources were concerned. When they are given power to impose and collect, how are they going to discover the income? I do not see how it is going to work, unless the Imperial authorities are going to lay before the Irish Exchequer such information as they have with regard to the total incomes possessed by the taxpayers resident and domiciled in Ireland. That is what puzzles me in this Clause. If the power to levy the tax is limited to Irish sources of income, it is quite easy; but when you extend the power so as to impose a tax upon incomes derived from sources outside Ireland, either in Great Britain or in foreign countries, I cannot see how it is going to work. I do not believe it will work, unless it is arranged under some close understanding with the Inland Revenue Commissioners, such as that they will provide the Irish Exchequer with such information as they have with regard to the total incomes earned by the individual taxpayers resident and domiciled in Ireland.
§ Mr. MACDONALD
There are certain cases where the Inland Revenue Authorities have not that information. They very nearly have it, but they have not full information. I should have thought it would have been very much better to have limited the financial control to the proposal as embodied in the existing Act.
§ Question put, "That the words 'from all sources' stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 119; Noes, 51.1303
|Division No. 360.]||AYES.||[943 pm.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. C.||Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W||Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James|
|Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Carr, W. Theodore|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Breese, Major Charles E.||Casey, T. W.|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Briggs, Harold||Churchman, Sir Arthur|
|Barrie, Charles Coupar||Broad, Thomas Tucker||Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Scale|
|Barrie, Rt. Hon. H. T. (Lon'derry, N.)||Bruton, Sir James||Coote, Colin Relth (Isle of Ely)|
|Courthope, Major George L.||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Rae, H. Norman|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Johnstone, Joseph||Raftan, Peter Wilson|
|Davidson, J. C.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Randies, Sir John S.|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)|
|Davies, Major D. (Montgomery)||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Robinson, s. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Davies, Thomas (Clrencester)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Davies, Sir William H. (Bristol, S.)||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Norwood)|
|Dennlss, Edmund R. B. (Oldham)||Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.|
|Edge, Captain William||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)||Seager, Sir William|
|Edwards, John H. (Glam., Neath)||Lorden, John William||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M.||Lort-Williams, J.||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)|
|Farquharson, Major A. C.||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Martin, Captain A. E.||Strauss, Edward Anthony|
|Fildes, Henry||Mason, Robert||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Middlebrook, Sir William||Sutherland, Sir William|
|FitzRoy, Captain Hon. E. A.||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred M.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Foreman, Henry||Morden, Colonel H. Grant||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)|
|Forrest, Walter||Morison, Rt. Hon. Thomas Brash||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness and Ross)||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John||Murray, John (Leeds, West)||Warren, Lieut.-Col. Sir Alfred H.|
|Glanville, Harold James||Neal, Arthur||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Goff, Sir R. Park||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Wintringham, T.|
|Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Parker, James||Wise, Frederick|
|Gregory, Holman||Parkinson, Albert L. (Blackpool)||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Guest, Major O. (Leic, Loughboro')||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry||Worsfold, Dr. T. Cato|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||Worthington- Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Harmsworth, c. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Perkins, Walter Frank||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Young, Lieut.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)|
|Hinds, John||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Pratt, John William||Lord E. Talbot and Mr. Dudley|
|Hope, James F. (Sheffield, Central)||Pulley, Charles Thornton||Ward.|
|Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)||Purchase, H. G.|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Moles, Thomas|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Dean, Lieut.-Commander P. T.||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)|
|Atkey, A. R.||Dixon, Captain Herbert||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Ford, Patrick Johnston||O'Neill, Major Hon. Robert W. H.|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Remnant, Sir James|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Barnett, Major R. W.||Hailwood, Augustine||Seddon, J. A.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Simm, M. T.|
|Blair, Reginald||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Sugden, W. H.|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr||Turton, E. R.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Kidd, James||Waddington, R.|
|Brown, Captain D. C.||Loseby, Captain C. E.||White. Lieut.-Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Brown, T. W. (Down, North)||Lyle-Samuel, Alexander||Whitla, Sir William|
|Burn, T. H. (Belfast, St. Anne's)||Lynn, R. J.||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||McLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston)||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Colfox, Major Win. Phillips||Macquisten, F. A.||Sir John Butcher and Mr. Inskip.|
Question put, and agreed to.