asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that the Commissioners of Income Tax have the right to vary assessments within a period of six years from the year of assessment, whereas the taxpayer has only 21 days in which to appeal; and, as this frequently leads to hardship, if he will amend the Regulations so as to give the taxpayer a right of appeal not less favourable than that enjoyed by the Commissioners.
Is the Financial Secretary aware that these assessments often call for a much bigger amount than the amount that is actually due and that they arrive at the busiest time of the year for small concerns? Is he aware that the result is that these small concerns have no time to attend to the matter and that when they appeal it is too late? In common justice, will not the hon. Gentleman extend the time for appeal so that the Government do not claim money to which they are not entitled?
All that the taxpayer has to do is to decide within 21 days whether or not he wishes to appeal. He has to do no more, and it is to the interest of the taxpayer and the Government that the point should be settled at the earliest possible moment.
Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that very often in those 21 days there is no time to attend to the matter? Does he not realise that in the case of the Surtax payer the Special Commissioners inform the taxpayer's adviser of the assessment? Why should there be this discrimination? There is a real difficulty here. Will the hon. Gentleman look at the matter again?