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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 48

Boards of Reviewers. Sections 56 to 69

Boards of Reviewers. Sections 56 to 69.

Boards of Reviewers will take the duties performed by Assessment Courts for local bodies, and in connection with the Land Tax. The Commissioner may be a Reviewer, but no other person holding office under the Act is capable of being appointed. There may be one or more Boards for each district, but to each Board shall be assigned a district or a division or divisions of a district. By a division is meant a borough, road, local board, or town board district, or an outlying district. Very extensive powers are granted to a Board, which will consist of three members, two of whom form a quorum. They appoint times and places of meeting, and may adjourn in respect of time and place. Their meetings shall not be deemed to be public, and any person or persons may be excluded or required to withdraw. Ample authority is bestowed to summon, and compel the attendance of, witnesses, and to order the production of books and papers. Boards have "full power of hearing and determining all objections to the assessment rolls of the district or division which is assigned to them." It is evidently intended that there shall not be any appeal from a decision, for Clause 69 states:—"The decsion of the Board of Reviewers on all objections coming before it, and on all other matters coming within its cognizance relating to the assessment rolls, shall be final and conclusive."

Anyone who has objected may appear personally, by an agent, or by counsel; and the Commissioner, Deputy-Commissioner, Assessor, or other officer, may appear on the other side. Cases will be heard in the order in which they stand on a list made by the Deputy-Commissioner, and when two or more objections relate to the same matter they will be heard together. The Board may alter the assessment rolls so as to give effect to their decisions, and may amend the description of any property to make the identification of it more clear. All alterations, insertions, and erasures are to be initialled by the chairman, and the assessment roll so signed and corrected, will remain in force until a "fresh roll is made." If there are no objections to a roll it does not go before a Board of Reviewers, but is endorsed by the Deputy-Commissioner as not being objected to, and is countersigned by him. From the foregoing it will be gathered that should a Deputy-Commissioner object to any assessment of personal property and the owner should not amend his return, his case would go before a Board of Reviewers, who, if they deemed it fit, could compel the attendance of himself and his clerks and require the production of page 15 books and papers. Should the evidence given disclose an endeavor to evade taxation, or to commit a fraud upon the revenue, the person offending could be proceeded against for a penalty of £100, and be assessed in treble the amount of duty he ought to pay. Further, if he should have made a false declaration he would be liable, under Clause 95, to a prosecution for perjury.