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Tax Credits

Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 25 October 2006

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what advice is given to recipients of tax credits when they notify the Tax Credit Office of an increase in income to avoid the possibility of an overpayment in tax credits. (95478)

[holding answer 20 October 2006]: Tax credits helpline advisers have guidance that prompts them to explain to callers that, if they inaccurately estimate their income or delay giving details of any increase in their income, they may have to pay back any overpayment after the end of a year.

Tax credits award notices and accompanying guidance notes, together with the guidance notes that accompany claim forms all explain that changes in income can affect entitlement and encourage claimants to tell HM Revenue and Customs as soon as their income changes.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many self-employed people in the Stroud district are in receipt of tax credits; and how many of these have received an overpayment in each of the last three years. (95479)

[holding answer 20 October 2006]: For tax credit purposes, HMRC require to know whether a claimant is in-work or out-of-work. They do not need information on what type of employment the claimant is in.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when Ministers first saw copies of the draft HM Revenue and Customs report on tax credit fraud and error published in July 2006; and if he will make a statement. (95579)

Advice is routinely given to Ministers and they are kept aware of any emerging issues. I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the statement I made to the House on 11 July 2006, Official Report, columns 1281-282 and also to my answer of 17 July 2006, Official Report, columns 161-162W.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what total tax credit payments were made against budget profile and forecast in each month from April 2005 to July 2006; and if he will make a statement. (95728)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his latest estimate is of the level of tax credit overpayments in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05 and (c) 2005-06; how much of these overpayments have so far been recovered in each year from 2003-04 to 2006-07; and if he will make a statement. (95737)

Estimates for 2003-04 and 2004-05 of the numbers of in-work families with tax credits awards, including information on overpayments and underpayments, based on final family circumstances and incomes for 2003-04 and 2004-05 are published in "Child and Working Tax Credits. Finalised Awards 2003-04. Supplements on Payments in 2003-04." And the "Child and Working Tax Credits. Finalised Awards 2004-05. Supplements on Payments in 2004-05 ". These publications and provisional estimates for the number of in-work families with tax credit awards as at selected dates in 2005-06 are available on the HMRC website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-quarterly-stats.htm

The amount of overpayments recovered for 2003-04 and 2004-05 tax credit awards, as at April 2006, are provided in the Comptroller and Auditor General's Standard Report on the Accounts of the Inland Revenue 2005-06, which is available on the HMRC website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/about/reports.htm

Figures for 2005-06 overpayments will not be available until the publication of the Comptroller and Auditor General's Standard Report on the Accounts of the H M Revenue and Customs 2006-07.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his latest estimate is of the cost of administering tax credits in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06, broken down by main budget heading. (95738)

The cost of managing and paying the child and working tax credits in the financial year 2004-05 appear in note 3 to the Trust Statement in the Inland Revenue Annual Report and Accounts for 2004-05. The same costs for the financial year 2005-06 appear in note 3 to the Trust Statement in the Inland Revenue Annual Report and Accounts for 2005-06.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether disciplinary action has been taken against (a) Treasury and (b) HM Revenue and Customs staff in relation to the April 2003 easement and subsequent tax credit overpayments; and if he will make a statement. (96071)

Decisions were taken as part of the operational responsibilities of HMRC. There was no reason to take any disciplinary action.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many tax credit awards were terminated as a result of a couple reporting a separation in (a) the April-July 2006 quarter and (b) the July-October 2006 quarter. (96126)

The number of tax credit awards that were ceased as a result of a couple reporting a separation in the quarters requested are as follows:

Quarter in which separation occurred

Number of awards ceased as at 2 October 2006 (Thousand)

(a) 6 April 2006 to 5 July 2006

32

(b) 6 July 2006 to 2 October 2006

33

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what factors were taken into account when the decision was made not to investigate tax credit rule 12 verification failures from April 2003; who (a) made and (b) approved that decision; when Ministers were first informed of the decision; and if he will make a statement. (96535)

HMRC take a number of factors into account when making decisions as part of their operational responsibilities.