Select Committee on Statutory Instruments First Report


 The Select Committee appointed to consider any instrument which is directed by Act of Parliament to be laid before and to be subject to proceedings in this House only being:

      (a)  a statutory instrument, or draft of a statutory instrument;
      (b)  a scheme, or an amendment of a scheme, or a draft thereof, requiring approval by statutory instrument; or
      (c)  any other instrument (whether or not in draft), where the proceedings in pursuance of an Act of Parliament are proceedings by way of an affirmative resolution:

In pursuance of the Instruction that in considering any such instrument the Committee do not join with the Committee appointed by the Lords, has made progress in the matter referred to it and has agreed the following report:

1. The Committee has considered the instruments listed in the Annex to this Report, and has determined that the special attention of the House does not require to be drawn to any of them.

Income Tax (Electronic Communications) (Incentive Payments)
Regulations 2001 (S.I. 2001/56)

2. The Committee draws the attention of the House to the above instrument on the ground that it is defectively drafted.

3. The Regulations provide for incentive payments to be made to individuals and employees who submit returns to the Inland Revenue using electronic communications. Regulations 3 and 5 set out circumstances in which incentive payments shall be made to individuals or employers submitting certain returns. Regulation 4 sets out the circumstances in which an incentive payment may be made to an employer submitting an end of year PAYE return. The explanatory note which accompanies the Regulations states that all three regulations are intended to impose an obligation to make incentive payments. The Committee therefore asked the Department to explain whether regulation 4 was intended to impose an obligation on the Board to make a payment.

4. The Department, in its memorandum printed in Appendix 1, explained that regulation 4 was indeed intended to impose an obligation but the word "may" was incorrectly used instead of the word "shall". The Department intends to correct this error at the next opportunity. The Committee therefore reports regulation 4 for defective drafting acknowledged by the Department.

Climate Change Levy (Registration and Miscellaneous Provisions)
Regulations 2001 (S.I. 2001/7)

5. The Committee draws the attention of the House to the above Regulations on the ground that they require elucidation.

6. These Regulations make provision about registration for the climate change levy. Part IV of the Regulations make provision for the appointment of tax representatives for non-resident tax payers and for matters connected thereto: regulations 17, 18 and 19 within that Part all make use of the expression "eligible to act as [or to be] a tax representative". Whilst the Committee noted that regulation 14(4) refers to the appointment of a person "resident in the United Kingdom" to act as a non-resident taxpayer's tax representative, it was not clear to the Committee whether the notion of eligibility, used in regulations 17 to 19, was intended to refer simply to residence in the United Kingdom or had some other meaning and the Committee asked the Department to explain this expression.

7. The Department, in its memorandum printed in Appendix 2, explain that this expression refers back to the question whether a person is resident in the United Kingdom. The specific primary legislation applicable to climate change tax levy representatives is to be found in paragraphs 114 and 115 of Schedule 6 to the Finance Act 2000. Paragraph 114(1) provides for regulations to secure that every non-resident taxpayer has a person resident in the United Kingdom to act as his tax representative and it is this provision which is reflected in the Regulations. The Committee therefore reports regulations 17, 18 and 19 as requiring the elucidation provided by the Department's memorandum.

8. The Committee nonetheless wishes to record its view that these Regulations are particularly well-drafted. The clear and straightforward style of drafting employed and the division of the text into short sentences make the Regulations eminently readable by the non-specialist. The Committee commends them to all departments, as an example to be followed.

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Prepared 22 June 2001