§ MR. HERBERT SAMUEL (Yorkshire, Cleveland)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the rate of increase between 1881–82, and 1891–92, and 1901–02, in that proportion of the income derived by inhabitants of the United Kingdom from investments abroad, which can be identified in the statistics of the Income Tax, may be taken to represent with approximate accuracy the rate of increase in the total of such income, or whether improved methods of assessment to the tax would vitiate such an inference; and, if so, to what extent.
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. RITCHIE,) Croydon
I cannot offer an opinion on the general question raised by the hon. Member; but I may say that a material improvement in the method of assessment and collection was made by Section 26 of the Customs and Inland Revenue Act, 1885, whereby bankers and dealers in coupons were made responsible for the deduction of tax from the proceeds of coupons collected by them from abroad, and much of the improved collection in years subsequent to 1885 may be attributed to that cause. It would, however, be impossible to name any definite figure as an estimate of the effect of that Act. As between 1891–92 and 1901–02, the collection has not been affected by any administrative changes other than those due to the changes of 1894 and 1898 as regards exemptions and abatements. These would tend to make the apparent increase slightly less than the real increase of income on investments abroad.