I move: "That this Dáil hereby approves of the Revenue Commissioners' Order, 1923, made on the 5th day of February, 1923, by the Executive Council, under Section 7 of the Adaptation of Enactments Act, 1922 (No. 2 of 1922), and laid before this Dáil on the 20th day of February, 1923."
This Order has been circulated, and it is rendered necessary by reason of the fact that some body must take control of the question of Revenue and Customs and Excise. The purport of the Order is to create one body of Commissioners to perform in the area of our jurisdiction the functions formerly exercised by two bodies—the Commissioners of Inland Revenue and the Commissioners of Customs and Excise. The Commissioners of Inland Revenue are responsible for the care and management of all Inland Revenue Duties, Income Tax, Super-Tax, Corporation Tax, Stamp Duty, and Estate Duties, etc.; and the Commissioners of Customs and Excise are responsible for all Customs and Excise Duties. It appears to the Executive Council that having two bodies functioning would be expensive, and that all the functions hitherto discharged by the Commissioners of the respective bodies— Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise —could be discharged by a single Board. and that is the purpose of this Order. The Commissioners in this case will be three in number. The Commissioners of Inland Revenue and the Commissioners of Customs and Excise consisted of four Commissioners, who held their appointments under Royal Warrant. That is set out in Clause 7. In Clause 9 it is pointed out that "The Revenue Commissioners shall in the exercise of their duty be subject to the control of the Minister for Finance, and shall obey all orders and instructions which may be issued to them in that behalf by the Minister for Finance." In that connection I wish to draw the attention of the Dáil to the fact that in this clause the control of the Minister for Finance will extend to Civil Service matters, but will not affect the computation of any individual as to his liability to any tax. The position of the new Board of Revenue to the Minister for Finance is much the same as that of the Judiciary at the present moment to the Minister for Home Affairs. It will be observed at once that it is a most desirable method of arranging these matters. Clause 10 sets out the location of the chief office, and also makes provision for such other offices in such other places as may be deemed necessary. The provision for having the chief office in Dublin is necessary, as the Taxation Acts of the late United Kingdom specifically provided for the maintenance of the chief office in London. As regards the days and hours the office shall be opened, it will be noted that all the staffs of the Inland Revenue are Civil Servants, subject to Civil Service conditions as regards hours and holidays, and the Inland Revenue being now responsible to the Minister for Finance by Clause 9 are not given any extended powers to define what holidays they would like to appoint for their staffs. The point of the provision is to be found in such matters as arranging the opening and closing of bonded houses and warehouses. Clause 12 indicates the provisions for making Orders under this Order, where any Order must be signed by two or more Commissioners. That is the law as it stands at present, and this clause gives power for such Order to be signed by one Commissioner. Section 1 of the Inland Revenue Regulations provides that the appointment of Commissioners is to be made by his Majesty the King and other controlling Commissioners of the Treasury. The appointment by the King and control by the Treasury no longer exists because of the provisions in Clauses 7 and 9 of the Order. Section 3 of the Inland Revenue Regulations states that the Chief Office shall be in London, but that provision is rendered inoperative by the clause I have mentioned, that the Chief Office of the Inland Revenue shall be in Dublin.
Under the existing law certain documents, such as warrants to collectors, etc., have to be signed by two Commissioners. I have already explained that one Commissioner will do the signing in future by reason of the passing of this Order. It is, I think, due to the Dáil that it should be mentioned that the appointments to be made under this Order are three Civil Servants of experience who have been closely associated with the work which they will be required to discharge in connection with these Commissionerships. The Press, as usual, has rather overstated the case, or, I should say, has given some indication as to the personnel. It is not a correct statement. This Order must be passed by both Houses. It was introduced last week into the Seanad. I was not aware that the Seanad would be sitting this week, and it was before the Seanad last week in consequence. Now, under the Adaptations Act, it is necessary to have it passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas under Section 7 (1) of the Adaptation Act. The Executive Council may create a Statutory Board of Commissioners to replace any Board which was in existence before the 6th of December. Under Section 7 (2) it may apportion or combine the functions of two or more of these Statutory Boards of Commissioners, and it is only an Order under Sub-section 2 that acquires the approval of each House by way of Resolution. The Executive Council must first pass this Order, and it has so done, as enacted on the 5th February. I move the resolution.