Financial Resolutions. - Resolution No. 13—Newspaper Excise Duty.

I move:—

(1) That there shall be charged and levied on, and shall be paid by the proprietor of, every periodical publication which is published in the State at weekly or lesser intervals and is, in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners, a newspaper, a duty of excise (in this Resolution referred to as newspaper excise duty) at the rate of one-third of one penny on every copy of such publication sent out, on or for sale or otherwise, from the premises of the publisher of such publication on or after the 26th day of May, 1941.

(2) That newspaper excise duty shall not be charged or levied—

(a) on any publication which, in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners, is a trade, craft, trade union, scientific, religious, or educational publication, nor

(b) on any copy of a publication which is shown, to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners, to have been exported.

(3) That where it is shown to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners that any copy of a publication on which newspaper excise duty has been charged or paid has not been used and has been returned to the publisher of such publication and that credit has been allowed by such publisher in respect of such copy, the Revenue Commissioners may, subject to such conditions as they may think fit to impose, remit or repay the said duty charged or paid on such copy.

(4) That the Revenue Commissioners may make regulations for securing and collecting newspaper excise duty and, in particular,—

(a) for requiring and verifying particulars of sales and deliveries of publications on which the said duty is chargeable, and

(b) for requiring and verifying particulars of returns of copies of such publications and of credits in respect of such returns, and

(c) for applying to newspaper excise duty any enactment for the time being in force relating to any duty of excise or to persons carrying on any trade or business which is for the time being subject to the law of excise.

(5) That if any person contravenes (whether by act or omission) any regulation made by the Revenue Commissioners under the next preceding paragraph of this Resolution, he shall be guilty of an offence under this paragraph and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to an excise penalty of five hundred pounds and any article in respect of which such offence is committed shall be forfeited.

(6) That any officer of the Revenue Commissioners may at any reasonable time enter any premises in which any publication on which newspaper excise duty is chargeable is printed or published with a view to seeing whether the provisions of this Resolution or any regulations made in pursuance of those provisions are being complied with and, if any person prevents or obstructs such entry, such person shall be guilty of an offence under this paragraph and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to an excise penalty of one hundred pounds.

(7) It is hereby declared that it is expedient in the public interest that this Resolution shall have statutory effect under the provisions of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1927 (No. 7 of 1927).

I take it from the Minister's reply that this tax is going to raise the cost of the Irish daily papers?

I imagine so.

The Minister indicated that he expects to get £135,000 this year, or a total of £160,000 from this tax.

I expect to get £135,000 this year.

Following on Deputy Cosgrave's statement on the Budget as a whole, I should like particularly to underline this as a tax that would be absolutely unnecessary but for much futility of the general Governmental administration of affairs. I suggest to the Minister that he should look at the space and the type of stuff that was pumped out on Government advertising intended to organise people on proper lines to meet the emergency and to deal with compulsory tillage. It was urged on the Government that the county committees of agriculture should have had an opportunity of cooperating in bringing the compulsory tillage policy into operation, but the Department of Agriculture intimated that it was able to look after that side of the business, and had all the machinery and inspectors that would be required. I should like to have an estimate of the total amount of money that was spent in pumping advertisements into newspapers throughout the country, appealing to parish councils and sundry bodies to give their aid in getting the compulsory tillage policy into operation, so that the necessary amount of work would be done this spring. It would be quite unnecessary to have this tax if the work of Government departments had been carried out, as the particular type of advertising that was indulged in on a large scale could have been avoided, particularly during recent months. It would help the Minister and help the people, who get very little for what they are paying for their newspapers at present, if things could be left as they are, and if there was a review of the amount of money that has been spent unnecessarily in advertising, and on a type of advertisement that is not doing the work that the Government thinks it is doing. Apart from intending to impress on people the necessity of doing certain work, it is simply impressing upon them the idea that the Government does not know how to do its business but is just beating the big drum.

Question put and agreed to.