HC Deb 17 May 1966 vol 728 cc1093-4
1. Sir C. Osborne

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that the requirements of the Income Tax returns concerning capital gains are causing difficulty to the accountancy profession, with the result that there will be delay in the payment of taxes; in view of these difficulties, if he will revise these requirements; and if he will make a statement.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. John Diamond)

I am aware of the additional work falling on the accountancy profession, but I cannot undertake to modify the requirements.

Sir C. Osborne

Would the right hon. Gentleman consult the Institute of Chartered Accountants to see whether the same aims cannot be achieved by simpler methods? Is he not aware that the present requirements are nearly driving members crazy in that profession?

Mr. Diamond

I am not aware of what the hon. Member says in the last part of the question. I do not think that members of the profession are ever likely to be driven crazy. But I am aware of certain anxiety, and my right hon. Friend has told the President of the Institute that we shall be prepared to discuss this matter with him.

Mr. Barnett

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, as a member of the accountancy profession, I am not quite as crazy or as miserable as the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne)? But is my right hon. Friend aware that he could gain a great deal of good will by looking at the matter again and that he could assist both the accountancy profession and taxpayers by seeing whether he could do something to help in simplifying these tax forms?

Mr. Diamond

I have already indicated that we are only too glad to discuss this matter with leaders of the profession.

Mr. Stratton Mills

Has the right hon. Gentleman noted the dozen resolutions which have been tabled at the Inland Revenue Staff Conference this month? Has he also noticed that 179 senior grade tax officers resigned during the last year?

Mr. Diamond

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor reminds me that it is exactly 30 years since he moved an identical kind of resolution himself.