Details of naval emoluments and tax deductions are now generally sent to the Inland Revenue Authorities very shortly after the officer's final date of release. When demobilisation was at its height, staff difficulties, both in the Fleet and in the Admiralty, made some delay unavoidable. The average period of delay at that time could not be given without a great deal of work, but it is thought that, apart from exceptional cases of difficulty, it was about two months.
Adjustment of tax after officers have left the Service is a matter for the Board of Inland Revenue, and claims are not made by the Admiralty. Before the introduction of P.A.Y.E. last year it was the normal practice, during an officer's service, for tax deductions to be made from his naval pay by the Supply Officer on a provisional basis and for adjustments to be made on receipt of Inland Revenue assessments. It is not possible to say why the necessary deductions were not made in the cases referred to by the hon. and gallant Member without knowing the names of the officers concerned and the amounts involved.
Will the Minister accept my assurance that such cases do exist, as I have seen the correspondence; and will he convey to his right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer that as it has taken the Government eight years to make the claims, these gentlemen should be allowed eight years in which to make the payments?
Yes, Sir. I realise that hardship may be caused in certain cases, but taxes have to be paid—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"]—strange though it may seem to some people. Even if there is a delay, these taxes will have to be paid whatever the difficulties may be. However, I will look into the matter and will naturally bring it to the attention of my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but I can give absolutely no guarantee that they will be remitted.