HC Deb 07 May 1923 vol 163 cc1921-4
103. Captain MARTIN

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will give directions that, in the re-assessment for Income Tax of extra-Metropolitan house property now proceeding, special consideration with a view to the avoidance of hardship shall be given to occupying owners who, in order to secure decent accommodation for their families, have sunk their capital in the purchase of their houses at greatly enhanced prices, but whose incomes would not, justify payment of rentals representing more than a much smaller percentage upon such outlay than they would have obtained from an investment in any other good security?


My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has explained the basis of the re-valuation now being made for Income Tax purposes in replies which he has recently given to a number of questions on this subject. In particular, I would refer to the reply given on the 3rd May to a question standing in the name of the hon. Member for East Surrey. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of that reply, from which he will see that there is no intention of determining the annual value of property by reference to the enhanced prices at which it may have been purchased in the circumstances suggested in the question.


Has not the inner Metropolitan area been increased to the same extent as it is now proposed to increase the outside area?


Re-valuation of the Metropolitan area has taken place, as the hon. Member knows, prior to this.


In view of the very great importance attached to this matter outside, will the hon. Gentleman circulate to all Members of the House the information which he says he will send to the hon. Member?


The reply which my right hon. Friend gave is published in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Is it the Government's intention to give any concession in regard to these enormously high assessments?


That cannot now be answered.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will state the reason why the Inland Revenue Department, for the purposes of the assessment of real property, is not able to accept the valuation of the local authorities, who must be well informed on the subject; whether he is aware that, even after the increase of the district valuation by local authorities, there is often at least a 15 per cent. margin of difference between this and the Government re-assessment for Inhabited House Duty; that this all-round increase of valuation will throw a heavy burden on tenants, who will ask for reduced rents; and that, in these circumstances, the owners of all property will be seriously prejudiced by increased taxation on the one hand and by reduced rents on the other?


Outside the metropolis the rating valuation has never governed the Income Tax and Inhabited House Duty assessment, which is arrived at upon a different statutory basis. In the main, the Income Tax Schedule A assessment is governed by the rent actually paid for the property assessed. No doubt differences will exist now as in the past between the two valuations, but I have no information as to their extent. It is no doubt true that the re-valuation—displacing out of date valuations made in 1910—will cause some increase in the Inhabited House Duty charge, but that duty is so light that any such increase is unlikely in the extreme to have any prejudicial effect on rent levels.


Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that in many thousands of cases, hundreds of thousands of fresh cases, people who pay small rents of 5s., 6s. or 7s. a week Inhabited House Duty will be charged, and that that Inhabited House Duty cannot be collected now from these people?


I am not aware of the numbers involved.


Will some latitude be given to people who are unable to get their appeals in within the 21 days?


I have already stated that the 21 days is a purely nominal period, and there is no reason to believe that this number of days will be adhered to rigidly.


In regard to the three weeks' notice for appeal, will not the hon. and gallant Gentleman give some Statutory sanction to the extension of time, and not leave it to individual authorities?