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Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2006, Official Report, column 1735W, on tax arrears, in how many cases over the last two years where a review has been notified to a taxpayer and it subsequently resulted in a bill to the taxpayer, interest has not been levied; what proportion of such cases that represented; and for what reasons the interest was not levied. 
Dawn Primarolo: The information is not held centrally and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, normally where an adjustment has been made to an assessment of tax, the interest follows automatically, and is calculated and charged by the computer systems of HM Revenue and Customs.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2006, Official Report, column 1735W, on tax arrears, if he will make it his policy to notify the taxpayer (a) that interest will be charged, (b) of the date it is to be levied from and (c) the interest rate, at the time the review is notified; and if he will make a statement. 
Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2006, Official Report, column 1735W, on tax arrears, what (a) the longest and (b) the average period was between the date interest was charged from and the date the review was made known to the taxpayer in relation to (i) businesses and (ii) individual taxpayers in the last period for which figures are available; and what the amount of interest charged for the period was in each case. 
Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2006, Official Report, column 1735W, on tax arrears, whether the rate of interest charged is the same in every case; how it is determined; and what the rate is. 
Dawn Primarolo: The rates of interest are laid down by statutory formulae. The rates are available on the internet website of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC): http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/rates/interest.htm or from any HMRC local office.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families in (a) England, (b) the Tees Valley and (c) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland were in receipt of (i) less than £1,000, (ii) between £1,000 and £2,500, (iii) between £2,500 and £5,000, (iv) between £5,000 and £10,000, (v) between £10,000 and £20,000 and (vi) above £20,000 in working tax credits and child tax credits in each of the last three years. 
|200304 entitlement(29)||Number of awards|
|Between £1,000 and £2,500||477|
|Between £2,500 and £5,000||547|
|Between £5,000 and £10,000||756|
|Between £10,000 and £20,000||49|
|£20,000 and over(31)|||
|200304 entitlement(32)||Number of awards|
|Between £1,000 and £2,500||7.2|
|Between £2,500 and £5,000||9.0|
|Between £5,000 and £10,000||14.6|
|Between £10,000 and £20,000||1|
|£20,000 and over(34)|||
|200304 entitlement(35)||Number of awards|
|Between £1,000 and £2,500||1.0|
|Between £2,500 and £5,000||1.2|
|Between £5,000 and £10,000||1.7|
|Between £10,000 and £20,000(37)|||
|£20,000 and over(37)|||
Dawn Primarolo: HMRC take fraud very seriously and as part of their ongoing compliance work have identified and stopped attempts to defraud the tax credit system by making claims through the tax credits e-portal. In the light of this, HMRC has closed the tax credits e-portal while it makes enhancements to ensure that the system remains secure.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many software errors generating incorrect payments have been discovered in computer systems used to administer tax credits in each year for which figures are available. 
Details of errors were included in the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General for 200304, which can be found with the Board's Annual Report and Accounts for 200304 at www.hmrc.gov.uk/pdfs/report2004.pdf.
(4) what recommendations officials in HM Revenue and Customs made to the Paymaster General in June 2005 about organised attempts to defraud the tax credits system; and what steps were taken as a result; 
Mr. Davidson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what sanctions are faced by individuals from other EU member states who are found to be fraudulently claiming (a) working tax credit and (b) child tax credit; 
Danny Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what investigation he has undertaken into possible fraud against the tax credit system by migrant workers from other EU member states; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 24 January 2006]: HMRC use a number of sophisticated tools to help them detect wrong and fraudulent claims. Cases requiring compliance intervention are selected using a risk-based approach, which examines the overall features of a claim, not the individual's nationality.
In addition, HMRC also consider all allegations of fraud seriously and will investigate any matter where there is sufficient risk. Where it is established that a claimant has provided incorrect or fraudulent information, HMRC have a number of measures available to them including the use of financial penalties. In the most serious cases HMRC will investigate with a view to securing a criminal prosecution under the new criminal offence of tax credit fraud.
Mr. Frank Field:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) tax credit awards, (b) tax credit awards where the claimant was in receipt of the maximum tax credits to which they were entitled and (c) tax credit awards where the claimant received only the family element of the
31 Jan 2006 : Column 413W
child tax credit there were in 200304; and what the (i) total value and (ii) average award was of tax credits in each category in that period. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 26 January 2006]: For parts (a) and (c) I refer the hon. Member to the publication Child and Working Tax Credits Finalised Annual Awards 200304" (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-annual-0304.pdf).
(b) The following shows additional analyses based on the same data, and cover only the in-work period of families with awards where the claimant was in receipt of the maximum tax credits to which they were entitled in 200304:
|Average number during 200304 (thousand)||484|
|Total entitlement during 200304 (£ million)||3,179|
|Average annualised entitlement (£)||6,568|
Anne Milton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 12 January 2006, Official Report, column 773W, on tax credits, how many tax credit applications are being processed; and how many of these applications were received (a) up to six months ago and (b) more than six months ago. 
Dawn Primarolo: At 31 December 2005, around 155,000 claims for tax credits were being processed. At 23 January 2006, around 117,000 claims for tax credits were being processed. Information about the length of time that these claims have been outstanding is not available. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has Service Delivery Agreement targets for deciding tax credit claims within 5 working days and 30 working days. The Department's Annual Report reported its progress against those targets. It reported that, for 200405, 95.9 per cent. of all new claims, renewals and changes of circumstances were decided within 30 working days of receipt.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many home visits were arranged by HM Revenue and Customs claimant compliance officers to investigate tax credit claims in each month of 2005; 
HMRC uses its discretion in each case to determine the best way to obtain the information they need during their investigations. In the majority of instances, this can
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be done without the need to arrange a meeting with the customer. Where it is determined that a face to face meeting would be appropriate, HMRC give the claimant the option to meet on HMRC premises or at the claimant's home address.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many claims for tax credits were made by severely disabled adult workers without children in each month from April 2003 to January 2006; and if he will make a statement; 
Dawn Primarolo: The characteristics of adults and children as initially captured in all tax credits claims, including rejected claims, are not available, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
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