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Opinions from Others.

11th January 1912
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Page 16, 11th January 1912 — Opinions from Others.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

The Depreciation of Commercial Motors in Regard to Income Tax.


[1,475] Sir,—The income tax authorities can rarely, if ever, be accused of tardiness in issuing their requests for accounts to enable them to make their assessment calculatiens, and the New Year will not be far advanced before the well-known form finds its way to all who are liable to contribute their quota to the country's financial burden—in the shape of income tax. Commercial-motor owners have, almost without exception, always experienced great difficulty over the rate of depreciation, or, as the income i tax form has t, wear and tear, allowed by the surveyors for the purposes of assessment. It will generally be found that the depreciation allowance has been at 10 per cent. on the reducing value ; in a few cases, where special circumstances have been conceded, 12-1 per cent.. on the same • basis has been allowed, but rarely has this figure been exceeded. When a rate in excess of those mentioned has been claimed, surveyors have invariably required to be furnished with accurate information as to the life of motor wagons in actual experience : there being no sufficient data available, owing to the comparativelyshort time many of these vehicles have been in use, the claimant was placed at a disadvantage and generally had to be content with whatever rate the surveyor chose to allow. Motor-haulage contractors have naturally been at a greater disadvantage than concerns whose motor wagons are only a part of an equipment for the owner's work, as contractors cater for all and sundry traffic and cannot, if they wish to extend their businesses, exercise much choice of runs or loads ; consequektly, their rate of depreciation may legitimately be claimed to be greater than those of concerns whose wagons have in the majority of cases been specifically designed for their particular work.

The publication by the War Department of the Provisional scheme for the Government subsidizing of motor lorries has, however far that scheme may fall short of efficiency in toto, furnished one provision which will undoubtedly be of very great value to commercial-motor users generally, in that it provides for a rate of depreciation of 15 per rent. per annum on cost ; that is, that should the necessity arise for the taking over by the War Department of any subsidized machine, to get at the value to be paid to the owner, a deduction at. the rate of 15 per Cent. per annum will have to be made on the original cost of the wagon, less tires. The addition to the then value which the War Office would pay does not affect the depreciation, but is presumably for dislocittion of the owner's business, consequent on the less of the machine.

The surveyors of taxes will, no doubt, still try to keep to their old rate of allowance, but it is difficult to see that they can support their argument in the face of the above-named scheme. The Government being prepared to take over the machines, but subject to depreciation at the rate of 15 per cent, per annum on cost, thereby admit that they consider that such rate is a fair one, and owners will be well advised not to accept any less allowance for the purposes of income tax when agreeing their. accounts for assessment, basing their claim on the subsidy scheme.

The obtaining of this allowance will make a very considerable difference in the tax to be paid by owners. To take for example, a person owning a fleet which at the present time is valued at £10,000: at the present rate of 10 per cent., the reducing value would for, say, three years represent a total

deduction from the assessable profits of A2,710, which, assuming the owner were taxable at. Dcl., would work out at .2101 12s, 6d., whilst, with an allowance of 15 per cent, on cost, the total deduction would be Xe,500 for the same period, which, at the same rate, would give 2168 13s., or 267 as. 6d. less tax to be paid over the three years a not inconsiderable item.

Cost price, on which depreciation should be claimed, would not include tires : to write those off at the rate of 15 per cent. per annum may possibly be all right for an aeroplane but not a motor wagon. No doubt users wish it were so, though the manufacturers would have other views.—Yours faithfully, " SCHEDCLE D."

Some of our many owner readers flay 'Mili to try for a 15 per cont. allowanc.e,—En,

The Driver's Comfort,

The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR [1X161 Sir,—Your correspondent, Mr. T. C. Aveling, in his letter which appeared in your issue of 28th December last and following one " From the Driver's Seat' published in your issue of 30th November, urges a much needed improvement in commercial vehicles, at least from the driver's point of view. Mr. Aveling stated that now is the winter of our discontent and that manufacturers should give their attention to the comfort of the driver. This seems rather like " Bolting the stable door after the horse has gone," if one may apply such a simile to commercial motors. Nevertheless it is a matter which does require attention. Such attention pays the owner, too.

The majority of drivers are out for long hours in all kinds of weather and are afforded very little protection ; often they are not adequately clad, and they can hardly be expected to give of their best when, especially in such weather conditions as we have experienced lately, they are soon after the commencement of their day's work wet through and have to complete their journey in anything but pleasant conditions.

The outlay to afford adequate nrotection to the driver is not a serious matter and would easily be recouped by the better attention given to the work by the driver who, knowing that his employer had studied his interests and comfort would, if he were worth his salt, repay him by giving of his bast. This might easily reduce, very considerably, the repair bill, and also save accidents.

That the comfort of the drivers is receiving some attention from the manufacturers is evident by the latest " Maple " delivery from Leyland Motors Ltd. (as shown on page 314a of your issue dated 14th December last), which appears to afford ample protec tion.—Yours faithfully, "Can." Traffic Rules for the Country.


[1,477] Si think you are taking active steps none

Leo soon in announcing your decision to help forward immediately the organization of suitable accommodation on the road for night storage and general supplies. Your comments appear to indicate the belief that the trunk roads of this country will regularly see upon them motorvans of all kinds, and that more than a start" has already been made—as owners of motorcars know to their cost—is. evident.

The object of this short note is to express the hope that you will try to arrange that, all the appointed storage places shall display in a prominent place a set of rules of the road. These might be drawn up by the Commercial Motor 'Users Association, which body has done some useful work in that direction so far as traffic in cities is concerned. Country traffic wants a lot of attention, and one rule should be directed to the matter of keeping a good look-out for overtaking •high-speed vehicles. Not only is it a nuisance to get by a steam lorry, very often, but plenty of petrol lorries and vans cause trouble of this kind as well.---Yours faithfully, It. J. Wiamame

"A Good Pull-up for Carmen."


L1,478] Sir,—As one who has had much experience of long-distance deliveries by motor, especially in the pioneering days, may I be permitted to support your suggestion for the provision and proper ordering of accommodation on the highways for the large and constantly growing volume of motor vehicles ?

The points I think most desirable are : good and cheap accommodation for the men ; large covered yard, well lighted, and securely closed, for the lorries ; provision of petrol supply ; in large traffic centres a repair shop, and in all cases the addresses of local repairers ; a telephone for drivers to report to their depot, and to remain in touch until the resumption of the journey ; standard rates of payment for meals, beds, garage, petrol, etc.: the scheme to be devised and controlled by the C.M.U.A. ; notification plates to be issued for the various road depots, which would in some respects resemble the caravanserais of the East.

These plates should not be a cross between a hackney-carriage number and a pill-vendor's tablet, but attractive a.nd gladdening to the belated Petrolier.

I have still a vivid recollection of travelling through the Midlands some years ago on an oil-fired steamer, and of the Tionifaces1 stern refusal to accept us, and, alas, we had to settle down in a meadow—and what nights they were often !—Yours faithfully, ISO, Oxford Street, W. T. E. HARRISON.

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