Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Income Tax Collection (Kildare).

asked the Minister for Finance whether he is aware that during last month letters had been sent to several shopkeepers in Naas, Newbridge, and Kildare, by the Inspector of Taxes of the 7th District, demanding information as to how the amounts returned by them as profits seven years ago were arrived at, requiring copies of these traders' accounts for the three years preceding the 5th April, 1923, and copies of their bank deposit accounts, and bank pass books for the same period, which would involve a general examination of their trading accounts for the past ten years; whether the accounts of the parties to whom such letters were sent have been investigated by at least four inspectors of taxes during the period referred to; and whether, in some of the cases the assessments during that period were on one or more occasions the subject of appeal to the Special Commissioners or the Judge of the Circuit Court; whether he is aware that in this district in the case of the estates of deceased persons leaving any liquid assets attempts have been made to investigate the deceased's affairs for a like period of ten years, with consequent expense and trouble to the executors and all concerned; whether these demands have been confined to County Kildare or apply to the country generally; whether threats of criminal proceedings for nondisclosure have been made in certain cases by the inspector with a view to compelling traders and others to submit to an investigation of their affairs from the year 1914 to the present time, and to obtain from them agreements or consent to pay tax or payment in lieu of tax for the years prior to 1923; and whether the Minister will take steps to insure that in the administration of the Income Tax Acts these traders (whose business is at present passing through a period of acute depression) are not unduly pressed with such repeated and searching investigations, and will he put some reasonable limit of time on the period of such inquiries.

This question raises the same general matter that was dealt with fully in reply to questions by Deputy Wolfe on 10th July last and I would refer the Deputy to columns 602 to 608 of the Official Report of that date for the answers. If, having considered those answers, the Deputy considers that the action of the Inspector in any specific case is not in accordance with the principles enunciated therein, and if he will bring the matter to my notice, I shall be glad to look into it.