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Sorry to hear you are leaving us

31 March 2009 / Christopher Wallworth
Issue: 4200 / Categories: Comment & Analysis , General Commissioners , Admin
CHRISTOPHER WALLWORTH bids a fond farewell to the General Commissioners


  • The General Commissioners’ role pre-self assessment.
  • The concept of reasonable excuse.
  • Stretching the meaning of ‘minor and technical’.
  • The taxpayer’s safeguard with enquiries.
  • Cost-effective service that will be hard to follow.

Britain’s oldest tribunal ceased to exist on 31 March 2009 after 210 years of continuous service to the nation.

William Pitt the Younger introduced income tax in 1799 as a temporary measure to finance the Napoleonic war.

The Income Tax Act 1799 provided for the appointment of General Commissioners of Taxes who were responsible for assessing and collecting income tax and to hear appeals.

Commissioners were to be ‘persons as respectable in the station and rank of life as independent of all real or imputed influence and as likely to discharge the duties of the station with diligence and ability...

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