HC Deb 25 March 1913 vol 50 cc1483-4W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the distraint levied by the Commissioners of Income Tax upon the goods of Mr. Oswald Powell, of Bedales, Petersfield, in order to collect Income Tax upon a probably non-existent income of his wife's, because his wife will not declare to him what, if any, her income is; whether other similar cases have occurred within the last two years; and whether he proposes to take any steps to prevent the penalisation in future at the whim of the local commissioners of any man whose wife happens to hold strong views on the suffrage question?


I have been informed of the case referred to by my hon. Friend. The District Commissioners of Taxes, in whom the law has vested the powers of determining questions of liability to Income Tax and of instructing collectors to recover taxes by distraint, are independent of Government control, and the Treasury have no authority to interfere with the exercise of their discretion in discharging the duties entrusted to them by Statute. I am not aware of any cases which support the suggestion that those Commissioners are in the habit of making arbitrary assessments with the object of penalising persons whose wives hold particular views.