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Tax Collection: Languages

Volume 491: debated on Thursday 30 April 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to make tax forms in (a) Polish, (b) Romanian, (c) Moldovan and (d) other European languages available for people whose first language is not English. (271524)

Forms from HM Revenue and Customs, including tax returns, are not generally made available in languages other than English.

HMRC offers targeted support in languages other than English for customers:

Who are new to the UK, and new to the language, to enable them to meet their obligations and get access to services while they are settling in. Examples include a link on the ‘Coming to work in the UK’ HMRC website page, helpsheets on ‘Working in the Construction Industry: new Construction Industry Scheme guidance’ and on the Child Trust Fund, and miscellaneous airport and port notices.

From more established communities, where there is evidence to suggest that they need special help.

From within the travelling public who are entering or passing through the UK.

The help HMRC provides takes the form of:

simple information products, in plain English and key languages (including Polish), with key introductory information and signposting to further information and support; and

support and tools to better equip staff and intermediaries to help customers complete forms in English and to understand their rights and responsibilities.

HM Revenue and Customs also provide telephone interpretation services to help customers whose first language is not English when they visit a face to face inquiry centre or speak to staff in contact centres.