HC Deb 28 February 1910 vol 14 cc706-7W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in relation to the settlement of returns for Inland Revenue purposes, it is the practice of surveyors of taxes to exercise their discretion in making allowances for obsolete machinery; whether that practice is founded upon any minute or official authority, and, if so, by whom the same was issued and when; and whether, in the interest of the public and of the service, he will see that important and far-reaching questions of this kind should not be left to the unfettered discretion of an Inland Revenue official and a practice continued which has not the sanction and authority of Parliament?

The same HON. MEMBER

also asked the Chancellor if the discretion exercised by surveyors of taxes in making allowances for obsolete machinery can be so exercised without the authority of Parliament; and, if so, whether he will give directions to the surveyors to approve profit and loss accounts submitted by taxpayers in support of their returns for the purpose of assessment which contain such allowances for depreciation of machinery, provision for bad or doubtful debts, and ascertained loss on the capital value of trade premises, as is customary and essential to ascertain the net result of the year's trading?


I will answer both questions together. The determination of claims for allowance in respect of obsolete machinery rests with the District Commissioners of Taxes and not with the Surveyors of Taxes.


further asked the Chancellor whether he is aware that the practice ruling in different districts, and even between individual surveyors, is widely divergent as to the allowances for obsolete machinery; and whether he will accord to taxpayers the right of appeal against the decisions of the Commissioners as to questions of fact, including the assessment of allowances.


I am not aware that there is any wide divergence of practice such as is suggested by the hon. Member. As regards the second part of the question, the facts in cases of the Kind referred to are simple, and I do not see any reason why the decision of the District Commissioners of Taxes on questions of fact should not be final in these as in all other cases.


also asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, if further legislation is necessary to enable the existing practice under which allowances for obsolete machinery are made, to be legalised, he will proceed to effect it by an Amendment of the Budget in this respect, or initiate legislation by a separate Bill?


I regret that I cannot see my way to accept the hon. Member's suggestion.

Quantities of Spirits Cleared for Home Consumption. Amounts of Duties and Deposits Received.
Total. Amount of (1) on which the extra duty of 3s. 9d. a gallon was deposited. Duties paid on (1) at rates in force before 30th April, 1909. Deposits of extra duty of 3s. 9d. a gallon on (2).
(1) (2) (3) (4)
Proof gallons. Proof gallons. £ £
Home-made Spirits—
December (4th–31st) 3,315,000 2,415,000 1,812,000 453,000
January 1,614,000 1,567,000 876,000 294,000
Imported Spirits—
December (4th–31st) 809,000 689,000 464,000 130,000
January 401,000 374,000 231,000 70,000


asked how many gallons of home-made spirits were duty paid for home consumption during the months of December, 1909, and January, 1910, respectively, and the amount of revenue received in respect of these clearances; how many gallons of foreign spirits were duty paid in the same months and the amount of revenue; and what were the respective amounts of Wine

December, 1909. January, 1910.
Quantity. Amount received as duty and deposit. Quantity. Amount received as duty and deposit.
£ £
Home-made Spirits Proof gallons 3,478,000 2,384,000 1,614,000 1,170,000
Imported Spirits Proof gallons 857,000 631,000 401,000 301,000