asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that Her Majesty's Inspectors of Taxes respectively at Willesden, Cheltenham and Stratford, E.15, have requested from taxpayers lists of investments at 6th April, 1965, contrary to Treasury instructions and not required by Statute; and, as this practice represents unwarranted and illegal intrusion into private monetary affairs of investors, whether he will issue a general direction to all tax inspectors forbidding such practices in connection with capital gains duty.
If the hon. Gentleman will let me have particulars of the cases to which he is referring, I will look into them and consider whether any reminder should be issued that there is no statutory requirement on taxpayers to supply this information.
While thanking the hon. and learned Gentleman for that invitation—and I will submit the evidence to him at once—may I ask him to recall that months ago the First Secretary assured the House that the Treasury was not conniving at inspectors of taxes breaking the law by demanding these details, which are personal and private to the taxpayer? Will he make it abundantly clear that no taxpayer has any statutory obligation to divulge these details?
I think that the hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension. No question of breaking the law arises. Not even civil servants need statutory authority to ask questions. The only thing that would be wrong—and I will consider the matter from this point of view when I see the evidence which the hon. Gentleman says he will give to me—would be inspectors suggesting that there is an obligation on taxpayers to provide this information. However, many taxpayers find it convenient to give it, and I do not see why we should stop them from doing so.
In view of the most unsatisfactory nature of the hon. and learned Gentleman's Answer, I give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment as soon as possible.