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Widowed Mothers

Volume 928: debated on Thursday 17 March 1977

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why, under the scheme which has replaced family allowances, widowed mothers who are employed are currently charged income tax on £1 per week which they do not receive, being deducted from their widow's pension; and whether he will take immediate action to stop this deduction.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 14th March 1977; Vol. 928, c. 102], gave the following information:As I explained in my letter to the hon. Member of 11th March, there is no question of any current deduction on this account. In some instances, PAYE code numbers issued for the coming tax year to widows and others receiving taxable child dependency allowances have not correctly reflected the changes which result from the introduction of the child benefit scheme. Tax offices have therefore recently been reminded of the need to ensure that the detailed instructions issued last autumn are properly implemented and to take all possible steps to correct errors that have occurred.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he is satisfied that tax offices are aware that, for 1977–78, £52 of the taxable dependency allowance for each child of a widow will be exempted from tax, to take account of the fact that widows with dependent children are not at present subject to clawback on any family allowance received;(2) what steps he is taking to correct the coding notices of widows where tax offices have failed to take account of the fact that widows with dependent children are not at present subject to clawback on any family allowance received;(3) what notification the Inland Revenue has sent to tax offices that widows will have £1 deducted from the taxable dependency allowance for the first child when child benefit is introduced in April.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 14th March 1977; Vol. 928, c. 103], gave the following information: Tax offices were notified of the special arrangements for widows and others receiving taxable child dependency benefits in detailed instructions issued in November 1976 for the preparation of 1977–78 PAYE codings. These instructions covered the reduction of the dependency benefit to offset the payment of child benefit for the first child and the exemption of £52 of the dependency benefit for each child. I am nevertheless aware that in some instances these instructions have been misunderstood or overlooked and that some code numbers issued to widows and others are incorrect. Inspectors in charge of tax offices have recently been reminded of the need to check whether these instructions have been properly carried out and to take all possible steps to correct any errors. Any widow who thinks that her PAYE code is incorrect should write to her tax office.