53. Major HARVEY
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in view of the increasing tendency on the part of inspectors of taxes to demand, in accord- 2415 ance with the circular from the Board of Inland Revenue, dated 23rd October, 1924, personal attendance and the production of securities from persons who cannot be suspected of any intention to defraud, and whose identity has already been satisfactorily established, he will take steps to ensure that the paragraph in that circular stating that this procedure will normally be applied only in a relatively small number of cases in which the inspector finds it impracticable otherwise to establish satisfactorily the identity of the claimant, is strictly complied with?
I am not aware that the terms of the circular to which the hon. and gallant Member refers are not being strictly complied with; if, however, he will give me particulars of any cases in which it is alleged that taxpayers have been improperly troubled, I will cause inquiry to be made and communicate the result to him in due course
§ 54. Miss WILKINSON
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that it is the practice of certain Income Tax officers to issue summonses in respect of Income Tax in the cases of manual workers at a period of the year when they are in a position to know that on the total annual earnings no Income Tax is payable; that in these cases the local collector compels the person assessed to pay the cost of the summons, 5s., though no money is due to the State; will he issue instructions that in no case shall a summons be issued if it is evident that no tax is due in respect of the whole year; and will he instruct Mr. J. E. Taylor, Collector, of 4, Middlesbrough Road, South Bank, to return the 5s. cost of summons that he obtained from Mr. T. Speakman, 23, Station Road, South Bank, though that gentleman is not liable for Income Tax for the year 1924–25?
The hon. Member appears to be under a misapprehension as to the practice of the Inland Revenue Department in this matter. In making the assessment to Income Tax for any quarter, due regard is had to the previous quarters of the year of assessment and the charge is limited by reference to the liability on the earnings for the whole period. Moreover, as soon as possible after the fourth quarter's earnings have 2416 been ascertained the assessments for the earlier quarters are reviewed, and any adjustment is made without waiting for any application by the wage-earner. I am having inquiry made into the particular case to which the hon. Member refers, and I will communicate the result to her in due course.
§ Miss WILKINSON
May I ask why the Income Tax of the wage-earners is based on a quarterly assessment, while the business man has a three years' average because in many cases these people would not be liable to Income Tax if the whole year's earnings were taken into account?
§ Miss WILKINSON
The point I was making was that the business man's income is averaged on the three years, while we are assessing working men on a quarter's income, and I want to know why that differentiation is made?
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
Is it not the fact that all earned incomes are assessed on a yearly basis, and not on a three years' average?