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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29

Probable Produce of New Taxes

Probable Produce of New Taxes.

By turning back to p. 10, it will be seen that the abolition of all duties on articles consisting chiefly of the necessaries of life, would involve a direct loss to the revenue of £531,254 yearly.

According to my calculations, a tax of 6d. in the £ on all incomes arising directly from private landed property, may fairly he expected to produce £250,000. It is certainly not extravagant to estimate that the revenue from a tax of equal amount on all other incomes would produce another quarter of a million. The tax on the incomes of banks and other money dealers would alone amount to a large share of this. On every million of capital invested in those pursuits, if the dividend was only 10 per cent, yearly, the income would be £100,000, and the tax £2,500. The five banks, of whose transactions an official summary is published in the Gazette and reprinted in the other newspapers, paid dividends and bonuses during the year 1876, on their aggregate paid-up capital of £1,826,632 amounting to £639,750, or at the average rate of 12½ per cent, for the year. Besides this, the "reserved profits" at the end of 1876, amounted to £1,736,987. The income tax on those dividends and reserved profits, at 6d. in the £, would have amounted to £59,418. The charges to a farmer, grazier, or page 28 other producer, keeping a running account with an auctioneer, commission agent, or merchant, who advances on bills renewable at 3 months' date, have been found on examination, in many cases, to amount to a burden of from 20 to 30 per cent, on the producer, without any unusual infraction of the practice in that business sanctioned by the Chambers of Commerce. Advances made to buyers of public land, by agents who take deferred payments at a higher rate than the public cash price, with interest and charges added, all secured by mortgages on the land, and bills of sale on live and dead stock, produce very large profits, from which no contribution accrues to the State beyond the personal expenditure of one or more heads of the business, and a clerk or two in each instance. Even the auctioneers' license fees are paid to local bodies; and the customer, not the agent, pays even for the stamps on the necessary legal documeuts.

In all the other pursuits, private income is received by persons, who contribute to the cost of Government only by their personal expenditure. For instance, legal and medical advice, whether necessaries of life or not, furnish large private incomes to the experts in those two professions; out of which a similarly trifling proportion is contributed by their private expenditure to the public revenue.