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Yesterday Mr Shaw, the R.M. at Wellington, in' giving jndgemnt in the information ;-against W. E. Greatrex, for an infringement of the Property Assessment Act,in-, that be wilfully neglected to furnish «ny statement of his property, said : Written admissions signed by the de-fendant-were'put ih, and upon these the Court; was’asked'to decide two questions ; —first—‘ls n; holder of in New Zealand 'entitled; 'for the purpose of making-a return of property, to deduct debt* outside the colony? Secondly—lf ;ho-can, can defendant in this instance deduct the debts due to the firm : of Chules Greatroxand Son, Walsall, the deductdon.beipg made in favour of his own firm);* He was clearly of opinion that it ia the - intention, of the Legislature, although not ivory; clearly expressed, that vbrperson owning properly in New Zealand foay deduct the debts, charges and liabilities'upon that property due or to become .due to persons outside the colony;: thatis to say, in case of a merchankhere receiving a cargo of flour as a consignment' from his correspondent at Adelaide drawing upon him at three -ior'-four-months, and regarded it that until- that bill l has matured, and until it is-, met, there is a liability upon the flour which could he properly deducted-fcrtfae purpose of making the property tax retnrm It was immaterial to whom. theJiability is due, whether to a person, ip-. t}u», .colony or not. A more perplexing question, however, arose when it was whether Charles Greatrex. and Son, of Walsall, being identical, with, the- firm in Wellington (whatever they may do for the purpose of internal arrangement and for the facilitation of the bookkeeping of the firm), could say that they were to be treated as two individual persons or two 1 individual firms, and allowed to set off-the debt due by onecthat Charles Greatrex and Son in Walsall and Wellington were one firm, conld the firm in .Wellington-say that a debt is due to the firm in Walsall and deduct it ? For sometimehe was greatly struck with the difficulty-of asking Mr Greatrex in Wellington .to make such returns, because it occurred to him that it would be quite impossible fou! him to do so. There had been very little to guide the Court as to what position, these-'goods were in, hut undoubtedly some were consignments from the Home house, and the- defendants - could not tell whether the consignments’ . were paiebby. the Home house. If defendant uto be treated as identical with the Homo house,-he ought to be able to say whether -the goods were paid for, because if they, were not paid for, he would be allowed to sat*off the liabilities due for them in Walsall. He has told the Court it was impossible for him to make a return, not tell what bills had matured in Walsall He regarded it as a casus omissms in the Act. - Evidently it was. not r ini the contemplation of the Legislature that cases of this sort could occur, because no provision had been made for them ; hut in the absence of any provision to-th S-contrary, 'in the absence of any statutory relief being afforded, he hold defendant’liable'to make such return, however impossible it might be, upon the ground that the firm in Walsall could not-sae the firm in Wellington upon . this liability, and if is not a liability ' - which the; {defendant could deduct. He ruled that the information must be supported. . >The-defendant was fined L 5, and an order follows that- defendant should

p ay treble duty in- addition to that of the nte of Id in the £ on the property of the r fern ■ that ia, a tax of 4d in the £.

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Bibliographic details

IMPORTANT DECISION., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 367, 10 June 1881

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IMPORTANT DECISION. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 367, 10 June 1881