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Tax Advice

Volume 300: debated on Wednesday 5 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the policy of his Department on the purchase of tax avoidance advice; and if he will make a statement. [13256]

The Department's policy on tax advice is that tax avoidance advice may be necessary where there are complex tax issues. However, the Department would not incur expenditure on advice to reduce tax liability where the reduction does not relate to the pursuit of real gains in efficiency.In practice, where particularly difficult tax issues arise, the Department consults the Inland Revenue or HM Customs directly. The Department has not purchased outside tax avoidance advice, and has no plans so to do.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what estimate he has made of the expenditure by (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) non departmental public bodies on (i) tax consultants and (ii) other external tax advice in (1) 1995–96, (2) 1996–97 and (3) 1997–98; and if he will make a statement. [13255]

Neither the Department nor any of its agencies has incurred any such expenditure. Where difficult tax issues arise, the Department consults the Inland Revenue or HM Customs directly.Information relating to expenditure on tax advice by NDPBs can only be supplied at disproportionate cost.