HC Deb 10 May 1966 vol 728 cc205-7
29. Mr. Stratton Mills

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what authority the Inland Revenue requires individuals to state in paragraph 6 of their Income Tax returns details of assets acquired since 5th April, 1965; and if he will make a statement.

30. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the purpose of asking for particulars of chargeable assets acquired on the Return of Income Statement 1966–67, which puts taxpayers to extra cost and inconvenience.

Mr. MacDermot

The authority is paragraph 6 of Schedule 10 to the Finance Act, 1965; the cost of assets is needed to calculate any gain accruing when they are disposed of.

Mr. Stratton Mills

Does not the hon. and learned Gentleman know that the Estate Duty Office operates death duties without getting a complete Domesday survey in advance of every person's assets? Will not this new system add enormously to the amount of red tape and complication in the working of this tax?

Mr. MacDermot

No. I think it will simplify the tax very greatly if people make returns of these things when they have them readily available and to hand.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

What is the point of the Inland Revenue keeping file after file of chargeable assets which probably will not be sold for years and years? Is not the extra work which is being put on the Inland Revenue just the sort of thing that will bring about a strike in the Inland Revenue?

Mr. MacDermot

No. As I have already explained, it will make things very much simpler if the information has been obtained when it is reliable and can be checked.

33. Mr. Barnett

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will take steps to simplify the form of personal Income Tax return.

Mr. MacDermot

The Inland Revenue is already working on this. If my hon. Friend has any suggestions I will see that they are considered.

Mr. Barnett

Would my hon. Friend look into the question of simplifying the form even further than it is at the moment, particularly for the millions of taxpayers on Pay-as-You-Earn who do not have to deal with complications such as capital gains?

Mr. MacDermot

As I have already said, we are trying to simplify these forms and I will gladly consider this and any other suggestions which my hon. Friend cares to make.

Captain W. Elliot

Would the hon. Gentleman consider the form which is used in Australia? I used that form for some years and found it remarkably simple.

Mr. MacDermot

We have studied the forms in other countries but I would point out that some other countries, including Australia, have a much smaller population than ours. The number of forms sent out here is very great indeed. We have simplified the procedure and have reduced the number of forms from five to three.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that 11 pages in close type of instructions and explanations will involve an enormous amount of work for taxpayers and their advisers? Does he not agree that it will be very much more costly for the taxpayer to complete his return?

Mr. MacDermot

I should have thought that 11 pages would make it rather simpler for the taxpayers to get the explanations which they require to help them in completing particular parts of the form.