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42. EXCISE LICENCE DUTIES.—The various Licence duties
may be arranged and described as follows :
1. Licences granted to certain growing-duty traders, -as to distillers, maltsters, and stage-carriage proprietors.
2. Licences granted to persons who deal in articles which have already paid, or are supposed to have paid, the proper duty of Excise or Customs, and who, in some cases, convert these articles into other products. Such are the licences to brewers, tobacco manufacturers and dealers, tea dealers, beer, spirit, and wine sellers, maltroasters, &c.
3. Licences required to be taken out by persons who carry on a few of the trades formerly subject to a growing duty of Excise. In this list are included auctioneers, letters of horses for hire, soap makers, paper makers, and vinegar makers.
Some of the licence duties are assessed in fixed annual sums, irrespective of the extent of business carried on; such are the licences to distillers, rectifiers, tea and tobacco dealers, maltroasters, &c. Other licence duties are regulated by the quantity of duty paid articles produced or consumed within a year—as the licences to brewers, maltsters, tobacco manufacturers, &c. ; while the licences to retailers of beer, spirits, and wine, (publicans), depend for their amount on the annual value or rating of the premises in which the trade is exercised. Post-horse licences in Great Britain vary according to the number of horses and carriages kept and used by the traders.
Besides the growing duties and licence duties, properly so called, an annual excise duty is laid on Certificates to kill game in the United Kingdom, and on Racehorses in Great Britain.
43. METHODS OF SURVEY AND ACCOUNT.—The regulations for securing and rendering account of the different duties are prescribed in substance by law, and are carried into effect by the local surveying officers, according to a system of instructions and general orders drawn up by the heads of the department, and issued from time to time under the authority of the Board.
As it is intended to give, in another chapter of this work, a detailed statement of the processes of manufacture of exciseable goods, and of the leading regulations by which the revenue is secured, it will not be necessary to furnish in the present place, more than an outline of the general system of survey and account.
Entries.-Every trader is, with few exceptions, required, before he shall commence business, to deliver to the proper officer an exact description in writing, of all the places and utensils intended to be used by him for the keeping or manu. facturing of articles subject to excise duty or inspection, and to distinguish those places and utensils by a particular mark or number. This document is called an Entry, and is in most cases sufficient authority to the officer to take the trader under survey, and to visit and examine at any time the entered premises.
Notices. It is imperative also on manufacturing traders, to deliver to the officer of the station, a formal notice in writing, of their intention to begin any operation of importance, such as the wetting of corn to be made into malt, the removal of fermented wort to a still, &c. The length of this notice varies from one hour to a whole day, or even six days in advance, according to the nature or urgency of the depending process. The object of a notice is to give the local officer an opportunity of arranging his business, so that he may attend at the
trader's premises at the time when the best or earliest account can be taken of the materials in course of manufacture, or of the finished product chargeable with duty; or, generally, when his presence may afford the most effectual protection to the revenue.
Oficers' Surveys.—In addition to the attendance given in pursuance of notices, officers are required, for the better prevention of fraud, to visit their traders both when « silent” and at work, at uncertain periods, not exceeding stated intervals of survey. Within these intervals, several opportunities are afforded to the officer of examining goods in operation and in stock, of checking any attempt to evade a charge of duty, and of detecting minor irregularities of practice. He is enjoined by his instructions to go on each visit through all the entered rooms, to observe the state of the trader's stock, and the condition of his utensils and operations, if he be a manufacturer. He has to ascertain, by weighing, gauging, or measuring, the quantities of goods progressively chargeable with duty, and to record the results of his observations, gauges, &c., in a survey book, titled and prepared agreeably to precedent, for the reception of the diffierent entries. He has also to enter in a book or paper, called a “ Specimen,” kept upon the premises of the trader, the day and hour at which his visit is made, with an abstract of the particulars of each survey and charge, for the information of the trader, and as an evidence of his own attendance at the place.*
The quantities of goods taken account of by the officer or snpervisor are added up in the survey book, and brought to charge at certain periods against the trader, who is shortly after apprised by a notice in writing, of the duty payable and of the appointed time of payment.
Payment of Duties.- In the country collections, no trader can be required for the purpose of paying duties, to go further than to the market town next to the place in which his business is transacted, or beyond the market town in which it is transacted : and every trader is obliged under a penalty to discharge the amount with which he has been charged, at such times as may be prescribed by law, or by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue when there is reason to suppose that the duty is in danger of being lost to the Crown. In conformity with these regu. lations, it has been arranged that the collector shall visit every market town within his collection eight times a year, or twice in each quarter, at intervals of six or seven weeks, to receive the duties then payable. These divisions of the quarter are termed « Collecting Rounds," and are fixed with reference to the termination of the “Charging Rounds," always commencing on the Monday about ten or twelve days after the accounts are made up. The official year ends on the 31st March, and the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th charging rounds always terminate on the 30th June,
* In cases in which no growing duty is charged, as at the premises of licensed traders' generally, and at other places, such as mills and kilns, visited for the prevention of fraud, the officer has merely to insert in a "minute paper" or "entry paper," the date of his visit and his signature, (and at a rectifier's or vinegar maker's, the particulars of any notices received) to show that he has made the occisional inspection or given the atteudanco required. In addition to signing the entry paper kept at the premises of brewers and tobacco manufacturers he has on each visit, to copy into his survey book all the particulars which such traders are by law required to enter in this paper of goods consumed or bronght into stock, so that tne licence duty chargeable on them may be properly determined. At the premises of malt roasters, and certain other traders, who pay a fixed licence duty, the officer has to copy from the trader's book an account of his daily transactions in exciseable articles, or to see that the permits and certificates are duly registered and preserved.
30th September, 31st December, and 31st March respectively. The intermediate rounds terminate on a day fixed at or near the middle of these quarters by annual order of the Board.
Charge Vouchers. At the close of every round, the officer adds up the several charges made upon each person under his survey for that time, as entered in his books, and copies these entries into an account termed a “ Charge Voucher," one of which is prepared for each head of duty, and contains the charges on the different traders by name, with the total of the ride or division, and the amount of duty expressed both in figures and words.
These vouchers are signed by the officer, and afterwards examined and compared with the books by the supervisor, and, if correct, are countersigned by him, and despatched to the Chief Office, where, in the hands of the proper accountants, they form the grounds of charge raised against the collector.
Abstract, Pay List, and Licence List for Collector.-Having made out the vouchers for each head of duty, the officer then prepares an account, called “a General Abstract," into which he copies from the vouchers the total commodities and the amount of duty charged against each trader in his station within the round. He also specifies in the abstract, in separate columns, the amount of duty payable on the collector's next visit, and in the case of maltsters, the amount charged but not then due.* This abstract, signed by the officer, is then examined by the supervisor, and, if found correct, is also signed by him, and despatched to the collector at his residence. In addition to the abstract, a « Pay List” showing the name of every person having duty to pay and the amount payable, and a “ Licence List,” showing the names, residences, and occupations of the several persons intending to take out or renew licences, the date of commencement of each licence, and the amount of duty to be paid, are made out and signed by the officer, and transmitted through the supervisor to the collector. From the abstract, the collector's clerk transfers to one of his ledgers the duty charged upon and payable by each trader, opposite to his name. The collector being thus prepared, proceeds on his collecting round. At each place of collection he is attended by the proper supervisors and officers, and as the several traders pay the duties charged on them, he credits them in his ledger with the amount so paid, carrying forward as « Arrears” the sums which have become payable and are not paid at the appointed time, and as “ Uncollected Duties," those sums for which the credit allowed by law has not expired.
Weekly Petty Account.—The collector transmits to the Chief Office at the close of each week, an account called the “Collector's Petty Account,” which is an abstract of the entire receipt on every day in the week, specifying the station in which the payment is made, and including the duties charged by survey, and the cash received on account of licences or any other part of the revenue. The amount received is entered on one side of the Petty Sheet, and attested by each officer for the business under his survey, as well as by the proper supervisor. During the intervals between the sittings for the receipt of duties, when the supervisor and officers are not present to attest the correctness of the sums entered in the collector's Petty Account, a similar weekly return is made by the supervisor direct to the account. ants at the Chief Office, of all moneys paid in his district for licence or other duties. This return operates as a check on the weekly accounts rendered by the collector. On the other side of the Petty Account, the collector enters his remittances and disbursements during the week, all of which must be supported both in date and amount by receipts or other vouchers transmitted by him at the close of the round. He must remit, every Saturday, the whole of the revenue money in his hands, except any fraction of £10. He is allowed, however, to retain at certain periods a sufficient part of the week's receipts to meet the payment of salaries, &c. The balance is remitted through the local banks of England or Ireland, or through bankers approved by the Board, to the Receiver General in London, who pays the money into the Bank of England, where it is ultimately placed to the credit of the Exchequer.
* Maltsters who enter into bond are allowed a certain short credit in payment of duty.
To ensure greater accuracy in the entries in the Petty Account of the money received by the collector each day at the sittings, the officer is required to insert on a paged leaf at the end of his principal survey book, a list of all the traders who have paid any growing duties that day to the collector, and the sums paid by each, and to add a separate account of the sums paid for each kind of licence duty, but without any specification of names. This account, which must be entered in the Petty Sheet by the officer himself, and attested by his signature, shows at one view the sum for which the collector is responsible with respect to that officer's business.
The officer has also to make out on the opposite page, a list of « Current Arrears," that is, an account of all sums returned in the vouchers for his station, which remain unpaid for the space of one whole year after the close of that in which they became chargeable, with the names of the traders by whom the several bums are owing. After the list of Arrears, the particulars of any Uncollected Duties are to be inserted in a similar manner. This account is examined and signed by the collector and supervisor, at the sitting.
Arrear List and Letter.-A return of arrears and uncollected duties filled up by the officers, is transmitted by the supervisor at the close of every charge round to the accountants at the Chief Office, where it is by them compared with the collector's account current.
Collectors are required by their instructions, to take immediate steps for the recovery of duty which is not paid when it becomes due, and to state in a letter called the . Arrear Letter," which they transmit to the Board at the end each round, the cause of such sums not having been paid, and the steps which have been taken to recover the amount.
Licence Lists, Vouchers and Registers.—The various licence duties are brought to account as follows :-As soon as a trader who means to commence any business for which a licence is required, makes entry of his premises with the officer of the station in which his place of business is situate, the officer records in his survey book an abstract of the entry, and gives the trader notice to pay the licence duty on the next sitting day. When the money is paid, the officer enters in columns titled for the purpose in the front of his survey book, the amount of each licence, with the number of the round in which paid, opposite to the name and abstract of entry before referred to. At the close of the charge round an account is entered in the survey book, of the number of each kind of licences at each rate, and the amount of duty paid to the collector up to the day on which the round terminates. The officer then transfers the particulars into a licence voucher, prepared by the supervisor, and signs his name to it in testimony of its correctness.
Immediately after the close of each charge round, the supervisor makes a return to the collector, of the several descriptions of licences taken out in his district, the duty on which has been received within the period embraced by the round. He also forwards with the other vouchers to the accountants at the chief office, the licence vouchers for the same period, previously filled up and signed by each officer, and then brought to a total for the district, and signed by himself, as an evidence of the sums received by the collector.
Collectors and supervisors keep registers of all licences granted to traders, showing the name of each trader, the description of his licence, the period of its being first taken out or renewed, the date of expiration, and the duty paid.
In order to ensure greater correctness and afford increased security to the revenue in the collection and management of the various licence duties, the following regulations have been recently adopted :
All sums received by a collector for licences granted to Auctioneers who have no fired place of business or residence in his collection, and for licences to kill game granted by himself, are to be entered on the pay list, and brought to account in the survey book and vouchers of any one of the officers in the collector's residence; and the supervisor at the close of each charge round is to compare the counterparts of the licences granted, with the entries in the officer's book, endorsing on the back of the counterpart from which the last licence has been cut, the date of comparison, and his initials.
The sums received for all other licences are to be brought to account in the books and vouchers of the officer in whose station the respective traders carry on business.
All sums paid for licences or other duties at other times than on the proper sitting day for the station in which the traders carry on business, are to be entered in the collector's weekly petty account as « Unattested Receipts ;” and the collector at the close of each week, and at the termination of each charge round, is to forward to the respective officers, except those living in his residence, a memorandum shewing the name and place of business of each trader from whom licence duty has been received, the amount paid, and the description of licences granted.
The officer is to copy the particulars into the front of the proper survey book, initial the memorandum, and forward it to his supervisor by the first post. The officers in the residence of the collector must attend at his office at the end of each round and at such other times as the collector may direct, and copy the particulars of such payments for licences into their survey books from the pay lists at the collector's office, in order that they may be included in the voucher for the round.
Prosecution of Traders or other Offenders.—When an offence against the Excise laws is detected, the circumstances are reported to the Board, whereupon, if the case appear to be a fit subject for prosecution, an order is made for proceedings to be taken, either in the Exchequer, or by summary adjudication before magistrates. The proper accountant for fines and seizures being furnished with the papers on which the orders for laying informations have been made, extracts from them into a register kept in his office, the particulars of each offence, of the goods seized, and of the proceedings ordered. constitutes the commencement of the charge against the collector in whose collection the offence has been committed. In cases brought before magistrates, the collector, or, in his absence, the supervisor, attends the hearing and conducts the proceedings, unless professional assistance is retained for the Crown, when the attendance of the collector is dispensed with. The result is then communicated to the