Skip to main content

Revenue and Customs: Standards

Volume 488: debated on Friday 27 February 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many tax credit (a) claims and (b) claimants were affected by technical difficulties at HM Revenue and Customs in 2005-06; what measures have been put in place to resolve such difficulties; and if he will make a statement; (258484)

(2) how many tax credit claims have been (a) affected by and (b) delayed as a result of (i) IT problems and (ii) other technical difficulties at HM Revenue and Customs and its predecessor in each of the last five years;

(3) how many tax credit claims were unpaid for (a) over one year, (b) over two years, (c) over three years, (d) over four years and (e) five years or more as a result of (i) IT problems and (ii) other technical difficulties at HM Revenue and Customs and its predecessor.

The information is not available. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) works continuously with its IT provider to identify and resolve tax credits claims affected by technical difficulties.

Where there are IT problems or other technical difficulties, HMRC maintains affected tax credits claims by sending manual cash cheque payments to its customers.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what average length of time HM Revenue and Customs took to (a) process and (b) award a tax credit claim in the last 12 months; (258485)

(2) what procedures HM Revenue and Customs has in place to ensure the (a) accurate, (b) swift and (c) efficient payment of tax credits.

For information about processing times I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Northavon (Steve Webb) on 24 February 2009, Official Report, column 535W.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) publish procedural guidance for staff handling tax credits claims on the department's website at:

www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/ntcmanual/index.htm

More generally, Section 2 of the Exchequer and Audit Departments Act 1921 requires the Comptroller and Auditor General to examine the accounts of HMRC to ascertain that adequate regulations and procedure have been framed to secure an effective check on the assessment, collection and proper allocation of revenue and that they are being duly carried out, and to report the results to the House of Commons. His reports are published on the National Audit Office website at:

www.nao.org.uk/publications.aspx