HC Deb 28 January 1918 vol 101 cc1321-2W

asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether the American Beef Companies are only assessed to the British Income Tax on a basis of 1½ per cent. on their turnover, although their actual profits are 20 to 40 per cent. on their turnover; and whether, in view of the attacks on the Government for permitting profiteering and the charge that the officials of the Inland Revenue Department are not up to their work, and that tax evasions on the part of large companies are of a very general character owing to the secrecy of the system and the inability of the officials to grasp the technique of the respective industries, he will put a Clause in the next Finance Bill making the Income Tax of every person and every company as public a matter as his rates, so that those who have reason to suspect underpayment or evasion shall have every facility afforded for the detection of the under-assessment?


As regards the first part of the question I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 20th February last to the hon. Member for West ham South, of which I am sending him a copy. As regards the hon. Member's suggestion, I feel confident that this House would decline to sanction the withdrawal of the statutory guarantees of secrecy which secure privacy for the affairs of every citizen.