3 DECEMBER 1904, Page 18

The Income-Tax Bill which M. Rouvier proposed to intro- duce

into the French Chamber met with the usual fate of such a fiscal reform in France. It has been a hobby of many Finance Ministers, from M. Doumer to M. Rouvier, and has been sanctioned by so high a financial authority as M. Chailley. But nothing will persuade the ordinary man that it is not an expedient to tax the poor rather than the rich, and to introduce a fiscal inquisition which is contrary to Republican traditions. Even M. Rouvier was half-hearted in his advocacy, and declared that the Chamber might take it or leave it as it pleased. No details of the Bill have been pub- lished, but we presume that it is intended to introduce the English system, under which a man is taxed under one statute on his profits from all sources, and not under a variety of profit taxes. There is force in the argument that profits are already a:lery aaiely taxed in France under taxes like the Patents and the tax on Valeurs mobilieres ; but what French- men do not see is that a consolidation of such taxes under one system would really benefit the taxpayer. We suppose the opposition is rooted in that French instinct of thrift, which is hostile to a tax which exempts no part of the net profits of the year from assessment.