HC Deb 19 November 1931 vol 259 cc1002-4

asked the Home Secretary the number of Income Tax defaulters in gaol at the present time and during each month of the current year?


The information for which the hon. Member asks is not available in the form which he desires, but I understand that the number of persons known to have been committed to prison in default of payment of Income Tax during the present year up to date is 77. I cannot say how many are now in prison or were received during each month without inquiry at each prison, but I will obtain this information if the hon. Member wishes.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say what is the smallest amount for which a defaulter can be inprisoned?


Will the hon. Member be good enough to give me notice of that question?

72. Mr. CLARRY

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will at once take steps to initiate a special form of Income Tax or levy on the incomes derived by foreign actors and actresses when performing in this country?


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps in respect of the earnings of foreign musicians in this country to adopt the American system, whereby foreign performers must declare the amount earned in that country and cannot leave until the appropriate Income Tax has been paid?

The CHANCELLOR of the EX-CHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)

Proposals relating to foreign artists who earn money on short visits to this country have been considered several times in recent years. The whole question of the collection of tax from such persons is a difficult one, while the amount of tax at stake is relatively small. I will, however, give the matter my consideration.


Could not the deduction of taxes be made at the source?

73. Mr. HALL - CAINE

asked the Chancellor the Exchequer whether the machinery of the Inland Revenue Department will be sufficient to ensure within the current financial year the issue of assessments to all the 4,000,000 Income Tax payers brought in under the last Budget; and, if not, whether this will affect the balancing of the Budget?


I have every expectation that practically the whole of the Income Tax charge for the current financial year will have been assessed in time for payment to be made within the year.

80. Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is now in a position to state what arrangements will be made in the collection of Income Tax due on the 1st January, to carry out the promise of his predecessor in regard to any cases of hardship arising from the payment of the increased instalment of three-quarters of the tax?


My predecessor undertook that consideration would be shown m any case of hardship arising from the payment of the increased instalment of three-quarters. The Board of Inland Revenue are accordingly authorising collectors of taxes in such cases to accept a substantial payment on account in January, provided that the taxpayer promises to pay the balance without further application not later than the first week in March. Any taxpayer, who is liable to pay an instalment of three-quarters on the 1st of January, but finds it impossible to pay the whole sum on that date, can arrange accordingly with his collector of taxes.

I must, however, make it quite clear that this arrangement is to apply only to cases of hardship where the taxpayer cannot find the whole sum immediately. Taxpayers who can meet their liabilities should make a special effort this year to pay their Income Tax when it falls due. It is of great importance to the national finances that we should get early payment of the Income Tax and realise the Budget Estimates for the year, and, in order that the individual taxpayer should have this brought to his notice, I have authorised the Commissioners of Inland Revenue to issue with the In- come Tax demand notes a copy of the appeal for early payment that was made by my predecessor during the passage of the second Finance Act.


If everyone paid his Income Tax when it became due would it not save a great deal of money through the Government not having to issue Treasury Bills?


Obviously, if taxes are paid when they are due it would save a great deal of money.


Seeing that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is prepared to give consideration to Income Tax payers, will he also give consideration to the poor members of the working-class who are not able to pay rent at the moment and are faced with eviction? Will he set somebody aside to look into that matter?


I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman what machinery he proposes to set up to investigate the cases of hardship in connection with Income Tax?


I do not think it will be necessary to set up any machinery. My experience is that persons who suffer hardship are always quite ready to provide the machinery themselves.


Is it only the hardship of the rich which is to be considered, and not the hardship of the poor?