HC Deb 28 April 1925 vol 183 cc28-9
53. Colonel DAY

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the fact that British artistes and musicians who have fulfilled engagements in South Africa, Australia, the United States of America and elsewhere are, before being allowed to embark from those countries, obliged to produce receipts showing payment of Income Tax in respect of fees received for performances in the said countries, and in view of the high salaries and fees being paid to foreign artistes and musicians performing in this country and who are generally employed on short-period engagements, he will consider the advisability of making provision that such foreign artistes earning these high salaries shall have their salaries arid fees made taxable for the period of engagement in this country, and that documentary proof of such payment of Income Tax shall be obligatory before they are allowed to embark for their own countries?


Under the general provisions of the Income Tax law the foreign artistes and musicians, to whom the hon. and gallant Member refers, are chargeable with British Income Tax in respect of income earned by them on visits to this country. The question of the assessment and collection of the tax in these cases has received the consideration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he does not think that the facts warrant the adoption of the measures for enforcement of payment suggested by the hon. and gallant Member.

Colonel DAY:

As Australia and other countries adopt this practice towards our artistes, and people engaged in those countries, why cannot we adopt the same means in regard to these people who earn very large salaries in this country, and get away without paying anything at all?


I understand that it is not the case that any considerable number avoid payment in this way. In any case only a very small sum is involved, and by unduly harassing foreigners who come here it might well be that we should lose more than we should gain. We are, however, examining the matter, and it will be considered, but I cannot give a final answer now.


Is it not a fact that the engagement has to be for six months' residence in this country?


Would it not be possible to make it the duty of those paying the salary to these artistes to deduct the sum due, and account for it to the Inland Revenue?