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Income Tax Assessments (Tithe)

Volume 245: debated on Monday 24 November 1930

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that, on country estates, each owning many Schedule A income tax assessments, a large amount of tithe is being redeemed on an annuity basis; that it has been the practice of owners paying, under Board of Agriculture orders, such a consolidated tithe to agree with inspectors that such tithe he set off in each parish against one sufficiently large Schedule A assessment., thus saving the adjustment of many small sums of tithe, and that this system has worked well in the past; and why, in connection with the revaluation now pending, instructions have recently been issued to inspectors forbidding them to enter into such agreed arrangements, having in view the amount of clerical work thereby involved on the part of tax inspectors and landowners?

My right hon. Friend is aware of the practice referred to by the hon. Member. He is advised, however, that it gives rise to considerable practical difficulties, and, while it had certain advantages in the past, these advantages largely disappeared with the stabilisation of the tithe rent charge.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this new instruction will increase the staff in the Department very materially; and, as this House is anxious for economy, will he reconsider the matter?

This is a very highly technical and complicated matter, and, if the hon. Member wishes to pursue it, perhaps he would like to take it up with the Inland Revenue Department. In that case, I shall be happy to make arrangements.

Have these instructions, in fact, been given in consequence of the pending re-valuation?