HC Deb 31 January 1929 vol 224 cc1127-9

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the late Mr. James White, financier, of Foxhill, Swindon, died having paid no Income Tax or Super-tax from 1921 till the time of his death in 1927, and that the amounts due to the Crown were approximately £1,700,000; whether it is a common practice to allow a man to avoid all payment of taxes for six years; and, if not, why Mr. James white was so allowed?


My Noble Friend has been misinformed. It is true that large assessments—though not so large as he suggests—were outstanding at the time of Mr. James White's death, but they were merely in estimated amounts in the absence of a return and were under appeal; and Mr. White made a substantial payment on account shortly before his death. My Noble Friend will of course realise that exceptional difficulty attends the collection of tax from people who make and lose great fortunes in quick succession and keep no accounts, and he must not draw any general inferences. Even in this case I am informed that the interests of the Revenue have been substantially safeguarded.


Has the attention of the right hon. Gentleman been drawn to the remarks of Mr. Justice Rowlatt in a case brought before him last week, an appeal for Income Tax, when it was shown that the case had been going on for eight years. His remarks were these—


That does not arise out of the answer.


Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the second part of the question; whether it is the practice to allow a man to get away and avoid all payment of Income Tax for six years?


The utmost energy is displayed by officials of the Department in collecting all moneys due to the State, but, of course, there are great facilities for litigation and legal processes at the disposal of taxpayers who choose in some circumstances to use them.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that as far as the Labour party are concerned, we always pay as soon as we get our demand note?