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Value Added Tax

Volume 889: debated on Monday 7 April 1975

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps following the representations he has received about the distribution of the Customs and Excise leaflet on the zero rating for VAT purposes of wood logs, firewood and firelighters, to ensure that information of this kind is not in future sent to publishers, chartered surveyors, consulting engineers, interior designers and others to whom it is of no interest or concern.

Customs and Excise make a selective distribution of VAT information whenever it is possible to identify the persons directly affected. The methods of selection and procedures for distribution are continuously under review.It would be practicable to omit businesses from a distribution only when all businesses in the particular trade group were unaffected by the information. The broad trade classifications identify only the main business activity of each trader, and do not always provide an adequate basis for selective distribution, particularly in the retail field. A great deal more information about the secondary activities of each business would need to be obtained from the trading public before any higher degree of selection could be applied. Such an approach would itself be costly, and could well prove a greater irritant to traders, who would have to provide the additional information from time to time, than under present methods.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is satisfied with the progress of his review of the arrangements by HM Customs and Excise for the distribution of VAT notices with a view to saving expenditure and material by curtailing any unnecessary distribution and excessive packaging of such notices.

The review is continuous, and I am satisfied that proper attention is being given to it.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is giving any thought to raising the value added tax threshold from £5,000 a year.