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Tax Credit Claims

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 8 May 2003

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18.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of applications for (a) working tax credit and (b) working families tax credit were submitted either incomplete or with errors preventing correct assessment. [111900]

Claims for Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are made together, on one form, leading to a single calculation if claimants qualify for both. By 28 April, over 4 million claims to the new tax credits had been received and around 3.2 million awards were already being paid or had been set up for payment. The Inland Revenue was working through the remaining claims as quickly as possible. Where necessary, the Revenue contacts claimants to ask for any outstanding information or to follow up any queries about the claim.The number of claims for Working Families Tax Credit that were initially incomplete is not available. The priority is to identify and correct errors where possible and get claims into payment.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the reasons are for the recent unavailability of the working tax credit helpline; and if he will make a statement. [105263]

In recent weeks the number of callers has exceeded the capacity of the helpline and some have not been able to get through on their first call. One of the facts that the helpline has consistently had to confirm is that the earliest date for the (monthly) payment is 28 April. To meet the demand, we have, over the last six weeks, increased the resource allocated to handling telephone calls to maximise the number of calls the helpline can answer.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what action he is taking to ensure that take-up of tax credits is not adversely affected by the initial administrative problems; [110856](2) what action he is taking to relieve the impact of the problems encountered when administering tax credits in the Redcar constituency. [110855]

I refer my hon. Friend to the statement I made in the House on 28 April 2003, Official Report, column 53W.Over 4 million claims have already been made for the Child and Working Tax Credit. The publicity campaign to encourage claims from families who may be entitled to tax credits will continue.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much has been spent on publicising the emergency payments system for tax credits; and if he will list the media being used to publicise the emergency payments system; [111384](2) how many households have received money under the emergency payment system for tax credits; and what the total value of such payments is. [111385]

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many interim payments of child tax credit have been paid by each Inland Revenue office. [111835]

The Inland Revenue already had standing procedures to enable interim payments of tax credits to be paid, in cases where such payments are necessary. As I said to the House on 28 April 2003, by the end of last week 3.2 million families had their tax credits in payment in the normal way and remaining cases were being processed as quickly as possible. In the vast majority of cases, therefore, special arrangements for payment are not necessary.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Inland Revenue will publish a code of practice on overpayment of tax credits. [111386]

The Inland Revenue will publish a code of practice on recovery of overpaid tax credits later this year.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many applications for (a) child tax credit and (b) working tax credit are waiting to be processed. [111390]

Claims for Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are made together, on one form, leading to a single calculation if claimants qualify for both. By 28 April, over 4 million claims to the new tax credits had been received and around 3.2 million awards were already being paid or had been set up for payment. The Inland Revenue was working through the remaining claims as quickly as possible, where necessary contacting claimants for outstanding information.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many households who submitted application forms before 31 January are yet to receive payments of (a) child tax credit and (b) working tax credit; how many payments of (i) child tax credit and (ii) working tax credit are overdue; and what the total value is of overdue payments of (A) child tax credit and (B) working tax credit; [111393](2) how many households who have applied for

(a) child tax credit and (b) working tax credit and who opted to receive four-weekly payments applied (i) before and (ii) after 31 January. [111389]

About 2.7 million claims for child tax credit and working tax credit were received by the end of January 2003.Awards are already being paid except in the small proportion of cases where further information is needed to make a decision on the claim. In these cases the Inland Revenue should already have been in touch with claimants to ask for that further information.About a third of all claims processed so far have opted for weekly payment.