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31 Jan 2007 : Column 344Wcontinued
Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for how long the online tax credit service was closed by fraudsters in December 2005; and what steps he has taken to restore the online service since that date. 
Dawn Primarolo: A decision was taken to suspend the internet service from 2 December 2005. HMRC is developing a series of strengthening measures for the service and will consider whether to reopen it when this work provides the necessary assurance.
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in Bexleyheath and Crayford were registered as self-employed in each of the last five years. 
Dawn Primarolo: Information on the number of people registered as self-employed at individual constituency level is not available from HM Revenue and Customs records. However, the number of self-employed taxpayers in Bexleyheath and Crayford can be found in table 3.15 Income and Tax by Parliamentary Constituency, 2003-04:
This table is only available for 2003-04 and will be updated by the end of January with data from the Survey of Personal Incomes, 2004-05.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of self-employed taxpayers' tax returns for 2005-06 in (a) the South East and (b) the UK are planned to be investigated. 
Dawn Primarolo: HMRC adopts a risk-based approach to the interventions it undertakes.
Detailed plans for intervention work in 2007-08, based on self-employed taxpayers tax returns for 2005-06, will depend upon outcome of the risk assessments of these returns.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many self-employed taxpayers there are in the south-east. 
Dawn Primarolo: Information on the number of taxpayers with self-employment income in 2003-04 based on the Survey of Personal Incomes can be found in table 3.13 Income and tax by county and region on HM Revenue and Customs website at:
This table will be updated by the end of January with data from the Survey of Personal Incomes, 2004-05.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the tax liability is of overseas sportsmen and sportswomen while in the UK on their endorsement and sponsorship income. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 30 January 2007]: If a non-resident visiting performer carries out a relevant activity in the UK, they are liable to UK income tax on all directly or indirectly connected payments, including endorsement and sponsorship income.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what cost savings have accrued to HM Revenue and Customs from the introduction of electronic filing of PAYE end of year submissions; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: The cost savings accrued to HMRC from the introduction of online filing of employers' annual returns were £6.415m in 2005-06. These were primarily staff savings of £6.325m, but also included non-staff savings of £0.09m due to reduced printing and postage.
The cumulative cost savings are expected to increase every year up to 2008-09 and will then be maintained beyond that year.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the figure of £42 million for incentive payments for electronic filing set out in the Regulatory Impact Assessment of 24 September 2003 was calculated. 
Dawn Primarolo: Details of how the £420 million payment for incentives published in the Regulatory Impact Assessment on 24 September 2003 was calculated are shown in the following table.
|Cost of incentive (£)||Estimated take up profile (Percentage)||Estimated costs (£ million)|
HMRC based the estimates on the information we had at that time, and that as better information was obtained the estimates were revised upwards and reported to Parliament.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consultations with the payroll software industry were undertaken by members of HM Revenue and Customs when developing the policy of mandating and incentivising employers to file electronically pay-as-you-earn information; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: HM Revenue and Customs (then Inland Revenue) undertook extensive consultation with representatives from the payroll software industry during development of employer annual return online filing policy. This included:
regular consultative group meetings
policy specialists attendance at the Inland Revenue Electronic Exchange Network, an external forum at which developer requirements were discussed
policy specialists attendance at numerous software developer events between 2002 and 2004
one-to-one consultations with specific software providers.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps have been taken by HM Revenue and Customs management to improve the process for estimating expenditure of incentive payments for electronic filing of PAYE information; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: HMRC acknowledges that the original estimates on Budget day 2002 did not correctly anticipate the high take-up of online filing. Figures were based on the limited information available at that time. The Department is confident that now more data about filing behaviour-particularly take-up trendsis available, it will be able to more accurately estimate payments of the online filing incentive.
Estimates for forecasting incentive payments are based a combination of the following:
Number of employers claiming the incentive
Size of the employer base
Trends of take-up rates of incentive claims.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the reason is for the delay in posting electronically submitted pay as you earn end of year submissions to individuals PAYE and national insurance accounts for the year ended 5 April 2005; and whether deficiency notices have been sent to individuals as a consequence of the delay. 
Difficulties in bedding down the new technology introduced by HMRC in April 2005 to
support employers electronically submitting their annual returns for 2004-05 meant 120,000 (13 per cent.) online returns were accepted with errors that would normally have been rejected. These returns need manual work by HMRC staff before they can be correctly processed, and this has continued to delay some data getting to the national insurance recording system.
HMRC endeavoured to get all the 2004-05 data posted through to NIRS prior to the commencement of the deficiency notice exercise on 11 September 2006, but we did not succeed: 4.7 million deficiency notices were issued to customers and although the vast majority of these letters were correct, some contained incorrect information due to the late processing of returns.
When an individuals 2004-05 national insurance contributions are recorded on their NI account, dependent on the earnings and NI recorded, HMRC will send a letter explaining that 2004-05 is now a qualifying year for benefit purposes.
Adam Afriyie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the level of overpayments of tax credits reclaimed by the Government in each of the last three years. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 31 January 2007]: I refer the hon. Member to HMRCs trust statement and the Comptroller and Auditor General's standard report on HMRCs accounts for 2005-06.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in Hemsworth constituency receive (a) working tax credit and (b) child tax credit. 
Dawn Primarolo: Estimated numbers of families benefiting from tax credits by constituency are only available for in-work families. The average number in 2004-05 of such families with positive awards in each constituency, based on final family circumstances and incomes, are published in Child and Working Tax Credits. Finalised Awards 2004-05 Geographical Analysis. This publication is available on the HMRC website at:
Information for 2005-06 awards is due to be published in May 2007.
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what criteria will be used to decide whether local tax offices stay open or close. 
Dawn Primarolo: During its review programme HMRC will be undertaking a process of information gathering and consultation so that it can make fully informed decisions on its future office network structure.
No final decisions have been taken, and none will be made before an assessment of the impact of closing any office is complete.
These impact assessments examine in detail the socio-economic impacts of closure, impacts on customers, staff and business delivery and also take into account any specific factors affecting each local office.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 19 December 2006, Official Report, column 1747W, on VAT, how many companies have had applications for VAT refunds rejected as a result of the change in law on 3 December 2004 regarding VAT on the supply of services to non-EU customers; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 23 January 2007]: The information requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he plans to offer compensation to traders of the mobile phone and computer-chip industries who suffer financial hardship due to their VAT repayments claims being under extended review. 
Dawn Primarolo: Under Section 79 of the VAT Act 1994 HM Revenue and Customs are required subject to certain conditions, to compensate any business for failing to repay a legitimate repayment claim within 30 days of receipt of the VAT return.
However, when calculating the time taken to authorise the claim, sections 79(3) and (4) of the VAT Act provides for HM Revenue and Customs to deduct the time taken to make reasonable enquiries to verify the legitimacy and accuracy of the claim and to correct any errors or omissions on the return.
As the hon. Member has specifically referred to the mobile phone and computer-chip industries, I would also refer him to my response of 24 January 2007, Official Report, columns 1859-60W.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much public money allocated to the (a) West Belfast Festival and (b) Gasyard Feile in Londonderry in each of the last two years, broken down by Department. 
Maria Eagle: Details of the public moneys allocated to the (a) West Belfast Festival and (b) Gasyard Feile in Londonderry, in each of the last two years is given in the following tables:
|(a) West Belfast Festival|
|(b) Gasyard Feile|
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