70. Colonel NEWMAN
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is 2574 aware that the Royal Commission on Income Tax reported in 1920 that a reassessment of the whole country at one and the same time under present conditions would be impossible, and recommended either that the next revaluation should be spread over a period of five years and thereafter to reassess one-fifth of the country or one-fifth of each district in each succeeding year, or else that a valuation roll should be prepared which would provide the material for a reassessment in any year in which it was required; and, in view of this recommendation, is it the intention to modify in one shape or another the conditions and period under which the reassessment of lands and houses is about, to be made.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I do not think that my hon. and gallant Friend has correctly represented the recommendation which the Royal Commission on the Income Tax made in this matter. The Commission thought that a general re-assessment was impracticable in the conditions of March, 1920, not in the conditions of to-day. After referring to the two alternative schemes alluded to by my hon. and gallant Friend, they recommended that a valuation roll should be compiled for Income Tax purposes and kept continuously up to date. When the general re-assessment was under consideration last year, it was found that if the work was spread over two years (as was in fact provided by Section 32 of the Finance Act, 1922) no insuperable practical difficulty would arise. The adoption of the plan of the Royal Commission for subsequent continuous revision remains for consideration on a future occasion.
Does that mean that the Government at the present moment are throwing over the recommendations of the Royal Commission on this point?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
My hon. and gallant Friend may remember that a very large number of recommendations were made by the Royal Commission. Some are being put into effect each year and that process will continue for some time. That cannot be described as throwing them over.
§ Major PAGET (by Private Notice)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether in view of the uncertainty and 2575 difficulty arising with regard to the new assessments for Income Tax Schedule A he will issue clear instructions that the notices shall be served on the owner or his agent as well as on the tenant and that the owner shall be allowed by his agent to appeal against the assessments?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
In reply to the first part of my hon. Friend's question, I would refer him to a reply which was given yesterday to the hon. Member for North-East Leeds (Major Birchall). I am sending him a copy of that reply. As regards the latter part, the Inland Revenue authorities will offer no objection whatever to an appeal against an assessment being made by an agent of the owner.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
How is the owner to know what assessments have been made if he never gets a notice, and, if he does not get a notice, how can he appeal?