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In the civil service of the United Kingdom, Her Majesty’s Exchequer,or just the Exchequer, is the accounting process of central government and the government's current account (i.e., money held from taxation and other government revenues) in the Consolidated Fund. It can be found used in various financial documents including the latest departmental and agency annual accounts.
It was the name of a British government departmentresponsible for the collection and the management of taxes and revenues; of making payments on behalf of the sovereign and auditing official accounts. It also developed a judicial role along with its accountancy responsibilities and tried legal cases relating to revenue.
Similar offices were later created in Scotland around 1200 and in Ireland in 1210.
The Exchequer was named after a table used to perform calculations for taxes and goods in the medieval period.According to the Dialogue concerning the Exchequer , an early medieval work describing the practice of the Exchequer, the table was large, 10 feet by 5 feet with a raised edge or "lip" on all sides of about the height of four fingers to ensure that nothing fell off it, upon which counters were placed representing various values. The name Exchequer referred to the resemblance of the table to a chess board (French: échiquier) as it was covered by a black cloth bearing green stripes of about the breadth of a human hand, in a chequer-pattern. The spaces represented pounds, shillings and pence.
The term "Exchequer" then came to refer to the twice yearly meetings held at Easter and Michaelmas, at which government financial business was transacted and an audit held of sheriffs' returns.[ citation needed ]
The operation of an exchequer in Normandy is documented as early as 1180. This exchequer had broader jurisdiction than the English exchequer, dealing in both fiscal and administrative matters. The Dialogue concerning the Exchequer presents it as a general belief that the Norman kings established the Exchequer in England on the loose model of the Norman exchequer, while noting with some doubt an alternative view that the Exchequer existed in Anglo-Saxon times. The specific chronology of the two exchequers' foundings remains unknown.
It is unknown exactly when the Exchequer was established, but the earliest mention appears in a royal writ of 1110 during the reign of King Henry I. p.159 Pipe Rolls form a mostly continuous record of royal revenues and taxation; however, not all revenue went into the Exchequer, and some taxes and levies were never recorded in the Pipe Rolls. :p.219The oldest surviving Pipe Roll is that of 1130. :
Under Henry I, a procedure adopted for the audit involved the treasurer drawing up a summons to be sent to each sheriff, who was required to answer with an account of the income in his shire both from royal demesne lands and from the county farm (a form of local taxation). The chancellor of the Exchequer then questioned him concerning debts owed by private individuals. 73–74:
By 1176, the 23rd year of the reign of Henry II which is the date of the Dialogue concerning the Exchequer ,the Exchequer was split into two components: the purely administrative Exchequer of Receipt, which collected revenue, and the Exchequer of Pleas , a law court concerned with the King's revenue. Appeals were to the Court of Exchequer Chamber. Following the proclamation of Magna Carta, legislation was enacted whereby the Exchequer would maintain the realm's prototypes for the yard and pound. These nominal standards were, however, only infrequently enforced on the localities around the kingdom.
From the late 1190s to the expulsion of the Jews in 1290, there was a separate division for taxation of Jews and the law-cases arising between Jews and Christians, called Exchequer of the Jews (Latin: Scaccarium Judaeorum).
Through most of the 1600s, goldsmiths would deposit their reserve of treasure with the Exchequer, sanctioned by the government. Charles II "shut up" the Exchequer in 1672, forbidding payments from it, in what Walter Bagehot described as "one of those monstrous frauds... this monstrous robbery". This ruined the goldsmiths and the credit of the Stuart government, which would never recover it. In 1694, the credit of William III's government was so bad in London that it could not borrow, which led to the foundation of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England.
The records of the Exchequer were kept in the Pell Office, adjacent to Westminster Hall, until the 19th century. The office was named after the skins (then "pells" or pelts) from which the rolls were made.
In the 19th century, a number of reforms reduced the role of the Exchequer, with some functions moved to other departments. The Exchequer became unnecessary as a revenue collecting department in 1834 with the reforms of Prime Minister William Pitt, who also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer. The government departments collecting revenue then paid it directly to the Bank of England, with all money previously paid to the Exchequer being credited to the Consolidated Fund.
In 1866, the Standards Department of the Board of Trade took over metrological responsibilitiesand audit functions were combined with those of the Commissioners for auditing the Public Accounts under the new post of Comptroller and Auditor General. The name continued as the Exchequer and Audit Department from 1866 until 1983 when the new National Audit Office was created.
In modern times, "Exchequer" has come to mean the Treasury and, colloquially, pecuniary possessions in general; as in "the company's exchequer is low".[ citation needed ]
The Scottish Exchequer dates to around 1200, with a similar role in auditing and royal revenues as in England. The Scottish Exchequer was slower to develop a separate judicial role; and it was not until 1584 that it became a court of law, separate from the king's council. Even then, the judicial and the administrative roles were never completely separated as with the English Exchequer.
In 1707, the Exchequer Court (Scotland) Act 1707 (6 Ann. c. 53) reconstituted the Exchequer into a law court on the English model, with a lord chief baron and four barons.The court adopted English forms of procedure and had further powers added. This was done in Section 19 of the Act of Union 1707
From 1832, no new barons were appointed; their role was increasingly assumed by judges of the Court of Session. By the Exchequer Court (Scotland) Act 1856 (19 & 20 Vict. c. 56), the Exchequer became a part of the Court of Session. A lord ordinary acts as a judge in Exchequer causes.The English forms of process ceased to be used in 1947.
The Exchequer of Ireland developed in 1210 when King John of England reorganized the governance of his Lordship of Ireland and brought it more in line with English law.It consisted of the Superior Exchequer, a court of equity and revenue akin to the Exchequer of Pleas, and the Inferior Exchequer. The latter were the treasurers who handled all logistics from collecting the money (Teller or Cashier), logging it (Clerk of the Pells) and signing money orders accepting or paying money. It was managed by its own Chancellor of the Exchequer of Ireland and Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer.
The Court of Exchequer (Ireland) existed from about 1299 to 1877. It was abolished under the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Ireland) 1877 and was merged, along with the Court of King's Bench (Ireland), the Court of Chancery (Ireland) and the Court of Common Pleas (Ireland), into the new High Court of Justice in Ireland (now replaced by the High Court).
The Central Fund, the Republic of Ireland's equivalent of the UK's Consolidated Fund, is colloquially called the Exchequer when distinguished as a component of government funding.
Her Majesty's Treasury, sometimes referred to as the Exchequer, or more informally the Treasury, is the department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for developing and executing the government's public finance policy and economic policy. The Treasury maintains the Online System for Central Accounting and Reporting (OSCAR), the replacement for the Combined Online Information System (COINS), which itemises departmental spending under thousands of category headings, and from which the Whole of Government Accounts (WGA) annual financial statements are produced.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) in the United Kingdom is the government official responsible for supervising the quality of public accounting and financial reporting. The C&AG is an officer of the House of Commons who is the head of the National Audit Office, the body that scrutinises central government expenditure.
The post of Lord High Treasurer or Lord Treasurer was an English government position and has been a British government position since the Acts of Union of 1707. A holder of the post would be the third-highest-ranked Great Officer of State, below the Lord High Steward and the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.
In many states with political systems derived from the Westminster system, a consolidated fund or consolidated revenue fund is the main bank account of the government. General taxation is taxation paid into the consolidated fund for general spending, as opposed to hypothecated taxes earmarked for specific purposes.
The National Audit Office (NAO) is an independent Parliamentary body in the United Kingdom which is responsible for auditing central government departments, government agencies and non-departmental public bodies. The NAO also carries out value for money (VFM) audits into the administration of public policy.
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is a non-ministerial department of the UK Government responsible for the collection of taxes, the payment of some forms of state support, the administration of other regulatory regimes including the national minimum wage and the issuance of national insurance numbers. HMRC was formed by the merger of the Inland Revenue and Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, which took effect on 18 April 2005. The department's logo is the St Edward's Crown enclosed within a circle.
The Barnett formula is a mechanism used by the Treasury in the United Kingdom to automatically adjust the amounts of public expenditure allocated to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to reflect changes in spending levels allocated to public services in England, England and Wales or Great Britain, as appropriate. The formula applies to a large proportion, but not the whole, of the devolved governments' budgets − in 2013–14 it applied to about 85% of the Scottish Parliament's total budget.
The courts of Scotland are responsible for administration of justice in Scotland, under statutory, common law and equitable provisions within Scots law. The courts are presided over by the judiciary of Scotland, who are the various judicial office holders responsible for issuing judgments, ensuring fair trials, and deciding on sentencing. The Court of Session is the supreme civil court of Scotland, subject to appeals to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, and the High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court, which is only subject to the authority of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom on devolution issues and human rights compatibility issues.
The Pipe rolls, sometimes called the Great rolls, or the Great Rolls of the Pipe are a collection of financial records maintained by the English Exchequer, or Treasury, and its successors. The earliest date from the 12th century, and the series extends, mostly complete, from then until 1833. They form the oldest continuous series of records concerning English governance kept by the English, British and United Kingdom governments, covering a span of about 700 years. The early medieval ones are especially useful for historical study, as they are some of the earliest financial records available from the Middle Ages. A similar set of records was developed for Normandy, which was ruled by the English kings from 1066 to 1205, but the Norman Pipe rolls have not survived in a continuous series like the English.
The Court of Exchequer was formerly a distinct part of the court system of Scotland, with responsibility for administration of government revenue and jurisdiction of adjudicate on cases relating to customs and excise, revenue, stamp duty and probate. In 1856 the Court of Session was designated as the Exchequer Court, which now carries out its judicial functions.
The Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer is an officer in Scotland who represents the Crown's interests in bona vacantia, ultimus haeres and treasure trove.
The Scottish Exchequer had a similar role of auditing and deciding on Royal revenues as in England. It was not until 1584 that it also became a court of law, separate from the King's Privy Council. Even then, the judicial and administrative roles never became completely separated into two bodies, as with the English Exchequer. The Auditor of the Exchequer played a pivotal role in this important office of state.
Carucage was a medieval English land tax enacted by King Richard I in 1194, based on the size—variously calculated—of the taxpayer's estate. It was a replacement for the danegeld, last imposed in 1162, which had become difficult to collect because of an increasing number of exemptions. Carucage was levied just six times: by Richard in 1194 and 1198; John, his brother and successor, in 1200; and John's son, Henry III, in 1217, 1220, and 1224, after which it was replaced by taxes on income and personal property.
Under the French monarchy, the Courts of Accounts were sovereign courts specialising in financial affairs. The Court of Accounts in Paris was the oldest and the forerunner of today's French Court of Audit. They oversaw public spending, handled finances, protected crown estates, audited the accounts of crown officials, and adjudicated any related matters of law.
The Exchequer of Ireland was a body in the Kingdom of Ireland tasked with collecting royal revenue. Modelled on the English Exchequer, it was created in 1210 after King John of England applied English law and legal structure to his Lordship of Ireland. The Exchequer was divided into two parts; the Superior Exchequer, which acted as a court of equity and revenue in a way similar to the English Exchequer of Pleas, and the Inferior Exchequer, which directly collected revenue from those who owed The Crown money, principally rents for Crown lands. The Exchequer primarily worked in a way similar to the English legal system, holding a similar jurisdiction. Following the Act of Union 1800, which incorporated Ireland into the United Kingdom, the Exchequer was merged with the English Exchequer in 1817 and ceased to function as an independent body, although the Irish Court of Exchequer, like other Irish courts, remained separate from the English equivalent.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is a non-departmental public body funded by the UK Treasury, that the UK government established to provide independent economic forecasts and independent analysis of the public finances. It was formally created in May 2010 following the general election and was placed on a statutory footing by the Budget Responsibility and National Audit Act 2011. It is one of a growing number of official independent fiscal watchdogs around the world.
The Comptroller General of the Exchequer was a position in the Exchequer of HM Treasury between 1834 and 1866. The Comptroller General had responsibility for authorising the issue of public monies from the Treasury to government departments.
The Court of the Lord Lyon is a standing court of law which regulates heraldry in Scotland. The Lyon Court maintains the register of grants of arms, known as the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, as well as records of genealogies.
The Exchequer and Audit Departments Act 1866 is the UK Act of Parliament under which most of the revenue from taxation, and all other money payable to the Exchequer, must be paid into the Consolidated Fund.
Taxation in Scotland today involves payments that are required to be made to three different levels of government: to the UK government, to the Scottish Government and to local government. Currently 32.4% of taxation collected in Scotland is in the form of taxes under the control of the Scottish parliament and 67.6% of all taxation collected in Scotland goes directly to the UK government in taxation that is a reserved matter of the UK parliament.
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Charles II. shut up the 'Exchequer,' would pay no one, and so the 'goldsmiths' were ruined. The credit of the Stuart Government never recovered from this monstrous robbery.
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