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Excess Profits (Taxation)

Volume 389: debated on Wednesday 12 May 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, what percentage of Excess Profits Tax is charged in the various Colonies; why there is no Excess Profits Tax in West Africa; and, in view of the necessity of West African Colonies securing a share of the extra profits from increased mineral exploitation for war purposes, whether steps will be taken to achieve this in West Africa?

The rates of Excess Profits Tax in the Colonies vary from 40 per cent. to 80 per cent., and I will circulate details as regards the several Colonies in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The primary reason why Excess Profits Tax has not been introduced in West Africa is the administrative difficulty of accurate assessment, in view of the absence of any well-established Income Tax machinery. Full Income Tax has only recently been established in Nigeria and in the Gambia, and is only now being introduced in the Gold Coast and in Sierra Leone. This has caused a very acute shortage of competent technical staff, and, although I should certainly like to see Excess Profits Taxes introduced there, as elsewhere, I prefer that the available staff should be used in the establishment of the Income Tax system on a sound basis before being asked to take on the additional responsibility of administering Excess Profits Tax. The hon. Member will no doubt realise that the larger companies are already subject to Excess Profits Tax in this country.

Could we have an assurance that when the Income Tax arrangements have been completed, special attention will be paid to the Excess Profits Tax to be operative in that area?

I certainly shall give it most serious consideration as soon as am satisfied that the Income Tax arrangements are working properly.

Following is the reply to the first part of the Question:

The present rates of Colonial Excess Profits Tax are as follow:

Per cent
British Guiana60
Northern Rhodesia60