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(2) in how many cases of false or fraudulent tax credit claims HM Revenue and Customs intervened in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05, (c) 2005-06 and (d) 2006-07 (from 1 April 2006 to 30 September 2006). 
Dawn Primarolo: Information on tax credit compliance interventions for 2006-07 will be available at the end of the year. Information on compliance interventions for earlier years can be found in the Comptroller and Auditor General's Standard Reports on HMRCs Accounts.
Dawn Primarolo: Each claim for tax credits is subject to a wide range of checks. It would be inappropriate to disclose a complete list of verification checks relating to tax credits as to do so may provide assistance to those attempting to defraud the system.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many potential tax credit fraud cases have been identified by HM Revenue and Customs pre-payment checks for each week from 27 March 2005 to October 2006; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) membership and (b) purpose is of the HM Revenue and Customs Organised Tax Credit Fraud Strategy Board; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many prosecutions for systematic tax credit fraud were completed between June and October; how many convictions resulted; and what confiscation orders were put in place. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of childcare tax credit claims checked by HM Revenue and Customs compliance staff in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05 and (c) 2005-06 were incorrect due to fraud or error; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the estimated cost is of the increase in the tax credits income disregard from £2,500 to £25,000 in each financial year between 2006-07 and 2010-11; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 1 November 2006]: The increase in the tax credits income disregard is part of a package of measures announced in the 2005 Pre-Budget Report. The Government have always been more confident about the overall cost of the PBR package which is based on the total level of overpayments. The estimates were based on data from the first year of the system and provisional information from the second year.
The Exchequer effect of the changes to the tax credit system depends crucially on the source of overpayments. At that stage there was only limited information available on the sources of overpayments as HMRC only had complete data on 2003-04 overpayments, which were not representative of the system in steady state. This difficulty in accessing good quality data in the past made costing the individual elements of the package difficult.
However following publication of the 2004-05 overpayment statistics in May 2006, HMRC now has two years of overpayment statistics to inform this costing. And crucially, unlike in 2003-04, awards in 2004-05 were based on the previous years income making them much more representative of future years awards. In addition the first stage of the finalisation process for 2005-06 was completed in August 2006, adding to this body of knowledge. This additional information has not led the Government to change the costing of the disregardor the package as a wholehowever it has allowed it to feel more confident in the costing of the individual elements of the package.
There are still some uncertainties surrounding the costing. In particular it remains the case that while the overall cost of the package is not affected by the order with which the changes are modelled, these interactions mean that the costs of the individual elements of the package are affected by the assumed order.
|Exchequer effect (£ million)|
|Income disregard of £25,000|
One needs to carefully distinguish between the change in claimants entitlement from the change in the disregard and the cost to the Exchequer. The cost of the disregard is not the change in entitlement, but the forgone recovery of overpayments. The basic principle is that when money is paid out to tax credit claimants, it scores as a cost to the Exchequer. On the other hand, when any overpaid tax credits are recovered, there is a yield. The higher disregard does not necessarily affect the amount of money paid out to claimants in any one year. But by reducing the amount of overpayments, the higher disregard will mean there is less money to be recovered in future years. Hence the profile of costs shown above.
Dawn Primarolo: The tax credits scheme enables the Government to meet the objectives of supporting families, making work pay and tackling child poverty. All aspects of the tax credits scheme are kept under review to achieve these aims.
Dawn Primarolo: HMRC has robust procedures in place to identify abuse of the tax credits system, and all other types of fraud. Prosecutions will be pursued against the very small number of HMRCs 98,000 staff who abuse their position of trust. Since 2003, there have been 12 cases of tax credit fraud involving HMRC employees.
Dawn Primarolo: HMRC has taken a number of steps to ensure its communications are more claimant friendly and forms are easier to complete. This has included revising the tax credits award notice from April 2006 to give the claimant more information about entitlement, overpayments and recovery arrangements and improving the guidance note sent to claimants with their award notices.
Going forward, the finalisation/renewal notice claimants receive at the end of the year will include a playback of the information held by HMRC about their income and circumstances for the previous year. Building on these important steps, HMRC will
continue to monitor the claimant experience and review the form based on feedback from claimants and those who represent them.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answers of 25 October 2006, Official Report, column 1950W and 29 November 2005, Official Report, column 341W, on tax credit overpayments, whether the April 2003 tax credit easement was due to (a) an error by HM Revenue and Customs and (b) an operational decision taken by HM Revenue and Customs; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many tax credit applications by migrant workers were (a) received, (b) approved, (c) rejected and (d) terminated in each quarter since 2003. 
Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many requests have been received from (a) families and (b) individuals in (i) the UK and (ii) Wansbeck constituency for the transcripts of their telephone conversations with staff at tax credit offices in the last 12 months; and what percentage of those requests have been refused. 
Dawn Primarolo: Individuals can make subject access requests for recordings of calls made to the tax credits helpline, the Tax Credit Offices directors hotline and the MP hotline and those requests are dealt with in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
Between 1 October 2005 and 30 September 2006 HM Revenue and Customs received around 2,600 subject access requests for recordings of such calls from individuals in the UK. Information at constituency level is not available.
Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of families in (a) the UK and (b) Wansbeck constituency in receipt of working tax credit have disputed alleged overpayments with HM Revenue and Customs. 
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the letter of 15 June 2006 from the hon. Member for Denton and Redditch, when he expects HM Revenue and Customs to pay back the
outstanding £709.88 owed to Mrs. Julie Bowers, a constituent of the hon. Member, in respect of her tax credit case. 
Dawn Primarolo: HM Revenue and Customs is statutorily debarred from disclosing information relating to the tax credits affairs of individuals. I have asked the Tax Credit Office to write to my hon. Friend about his constituents case.
Mike Penning: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the number of tax credit overpayments in 2004-05; how many such overpayments have been accepted as the fault of HM Revenue and Customs; and how many such overpayments will be written off. 
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the number of recipients of tax credits whose household income was (a) up to £10,000, (b) between £10,000 and £20,000, (c) between £20,001 and £30,000, (d) between £30,001 and £40,000, (e) between £40,001 and £50,000 (f) between £50,001 and £60,000 and (g) more than £60,000 in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Dawn Primarolo: The latest available average number of in-work benefiting families in each band of income is given in Table 2.9 in Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics. Finalised annual awards 2004-05. This publication can be found on the HMRC website at:
Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research his Department has (a) conducted and (b) commissioned into the effectiveness of offering tax incentives to individuals and companies who adopt environmentally friendly means of electricity generation. 
John Healey: The Chancellor keeps all taxes under review, and takes a wide range of advice on environment and transport taxation issues. The Treasury considers the effectiveness of all tax incentives as part of the Budget process, while recognising their role within a wider range of instruments.
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue was raised by (a) inheritance tax and (b) capital gains tax in (i) 2005-06, (ii) 1997-98 and (iii) 1979-80; and what each figure represents as a percentage of total tax paid in each year. 
Total receipts data from 1999-2000 are published in table C4 of the Public Finances Databank, which can be found at: www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/economic_data_and_tools/finance_spending_statistics/pubsec_finance.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Treasury employees have (a) resigned and (b) been dismissed in the last 12 months; and how many of those who (i) resigned and (ii) were dismissed now work in other Departments. 
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