MEMORANDUM ON THE INCOME-TAX.
FROM certain observations in support of an increased Property and Income tax, it is to be inferred that the rate of the tax is to be raised to five per cent, and that the increase is to be compen- sated by some new adjustment of the burthen. The tax might be improved in a variety of ways ; but it will be well to bear in mind what are its two most glaring defects. By an equality of assessment, income derived from the most precarious resources is arbitrarily held to be equivalent to income derived from fixed property : in the eye of the Income-tax col- lector, a man who earns 300/. in a year as a clerk is equal in means to a man who has landed property worth 3001. a year ; though at the end of the year the proprietor has the 300/. and the property, worth perhaps 6,000/. or 9,000/. The rude mode of exemption which lets off the man of 1491. a year as too poor to be taxed at all, while the man of 1501. is taxed 4/. is. 6d., is equally absurd. The total exemption of the very poor may be justified; but that would be equally attained by striking off a certain sum from all incomes, and assessing the tax only on the remainder; which would make the burthen fall with proportionate weight on all incomes above the poorest. In such ease, the limit need not be fixed so high as 150/.