HC Deb 01 April 1969 vol 781 cc214-5
20. Sir B. Rhys Williams

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to improve the accuracy of assessment for tax purposes of the incomes of the self-employed.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Harold Lever)

The Revenue do all that can reasonably be done with the staff available.

Sir B. Rhys Williams

Why do the Government treat self-employed people like gipsies? They are assessed for Income Tax purposes according to purely artificial conventions and they are to be excluded from earnings-related social security benefits. Are not the Government admitting their incompetence?

Mr. Lever

No, Sir. The simple answer is that to adopt a perfectionist attitude in this matter would lead to an immense amount of work without any worthwhile gain.

Mr. Donald Williams

Is not the Financial Secretary aware of the utter waste of time which arises from the issue of Schedule D provisional assessments on self-employed people in August and September when, if the Revenue waited for two or three months, they could be issued as accurate assessments based on information supplied?

Mr. Lever

These delays are often produced by taxpayers—but I am not clear what the hon. Gentleman wants us to do about them.