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Taxation: Business

Volume 502: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) small and medium-sized and (b) other enterprises have made Time to Pay arrangements with HM Revenue and Customs to defer tax through the Business Payment Support Service to date; how much tax liability has been deferred as a result of such arrangements; and if he will make a statement. (304410)

HM Revenue and Customs measures the Business Payment Support Service through the number and value of agreements reached, and not by the size of business. To 29 November 2009 just under 238,000 Time to Pay arrangements have been agreed worth £4.17 billion.

The agreements do not defer payment but agree the payment of tax by instalments over a period of time. Since the service was introduced on 24 November 2008, over 90 per cent. of the value of payments due has been paid by the agreed time.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much tax HM Revenue and Customs forecasts will be written off as bad debts as a result of (a) small and medium-sized and (b) other enterprises which have made Time to Pay arrangements with HM Revenue and Customs to defer tax through the Business Payment Support Service not being able to meet their tax liabilities in (i) January 2010, (ii) February 2010, (iii) March 2010, (iv) April 2010, (v) May 2010, (vi) June 2010, (vii) July 2010, (viii) August 2010 and (ix) September 2010; and if he will make a statement. (304411)

The information requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) includes an overall provision for doubtful debt each year in its annual accounts but does not routinely disaggregate this figure. The most recent provisions are included in the accounts to 31 March 2009, available at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/about/hmrc-accs-0809.pdf

However, over 90 per cent. of the value of tax that has become due under Time to Pay arrangements agreed through the Business Payment Support Service, launched in November 2008 is being paid in line with agreed instalments.

Arrangements are available to businesses that are in genuine financial difficulty and unable to pay tax on time, but that are likely to be able to pay the tax due if given more time.

HMRC looks at each Time to Pay proposal on its individual merits against general risk-based criteria, which it has since the service’s introduction to reach decisions on a case-by-case basis.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) small and medium-sized and (b) other enterprises which have made Time to Pay arrangements with HM Revenue and Customs to defer tax through the Business Payment Support Service are scheduled to pay their tax liability in (i) January 2010, (ii) February 2010, (iii) March 2010, (iv) April 2010, (v) May 2010, (vi) June 2010, (vii) July 2010, (viii) August 2010 and (ix) September 2010; and if he will make a statement. (304413)