HC Deb 18 July 1924 vol 176 c759W

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he will consider the desirability of extending the present period of two months from the commencement of the year of assessment, during which farmers must give notice of their desire to be assessed under Schedule D for the year of assessment, to a period of four months, in view of the fact that many farmers make their accounts up to 31st March in each year, which gives them only two months during which to make up their accounts, have them audited, and decide whether they shall elect to be assessed under Schedule D or let the assessment stand under Schedule B?


I do not think that any real need exists for the change suggested by the hon. and gallant Member. As I pointed out in the reply which I gave him on this subject on the 13th May, a farmer who elects to be charged to Income Tax under Schedule D for any year, is assessed upon the average of the three preceding years, and I cannot believe that the farmer making up his accounts to the 31st March would be so uncertain of the results of his last year's operations as to be unable to decide whether that result, averaged with the ascertained result of the two previous years, for the purpose of an assessment under Schedule D would, or would not, be more favourable to him than the assessment under Schedule B. Moreover, there is a practical objection to the hon. and gallant Member's suggestion, in that it would operate to postpone the in-gathering of Income Tax returns in rural areas, with consequent delay and dislocation in the work of assessment.