HC Deb 15 June 1921 vol 143 cc434-5W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, as the Finance Bill provides that those firms who have not yet completed their accounting period can, if they so desire, compare the values of their stock on the date of their last stock-taking (i. e., the end of their accounting period but one of the whole term) with the values as at 31st August, 1921, provision will be made that such firms may postpone the date of their stocktaking until 31st August, 1921, so as to avoid the labour and expense of having two stock-takings and two sets of accounts in a period of one or two months; and whether for this purpose it may be assumed that for payment of Excess Profits Duty or the reclaiming of Excess Profits Duty this profit or loss of the period under review (i. e., from the date of the last accounting period but one to 31st August, 1921) has been made equally for the whole period?


In the cases to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers the Commissioners of Inland Revenue would not decline to accept accounts made up to the 31st August, 1921. In such cases, however, it may be necessary, in order to make a proper apportionment of profits, to take into account, not only the length of the respective periods (namely, the period up to the date of termination of liability and the period subsequent thereto), but also other factors affecting the division of profits as between those periods.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in the case of companies or persons who have hitherto been entitled to calculate Excess Profits Duty on the basis of pre-War profits, he is proposing to alter such pre-War standard by substituting a percentage standard, bearing in mind the serious injustice which will result to those who have hitherto been assessed and have paid on the pre-War basis?


It is not proposed to alter the basis of the pre-War standard by reference to which liability to Excess Profits Duty is computed, and traders will still be entitled to a standard based on their pre-War profits. My hon. and learned Friend perhaps has in mind the provisions of the First Schedule to the Finance Bill, under which the relief proposed to be granted in respect of a fall in value of trading stocks after the termination of the Excess Profits Duty would in part be computed by reference to the percentage standard. These provisions, however, in no way affect the principles on which excess profits are computed during the lifetime of the duty.