HC Deb 27 April 1971 vol 816 cc214-5
11. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total of unpaid income tax at the end of each financial year from 1965 to the present year; and what proposals he has for encouraging payment on the due dates by those who do not come within Pay as You Earn regulations.

Mr. Higgins

As the answer to the first part of the Question contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate them in the OFFICIAL REPORT. Figures for 1971 are not yet available. As regards the second part, this matter is kept under close review. I have no proposals for change at present.

Mrs. Short

Is this not a case of the hon. Gentleman closing a blind eye to those who can evade their income tax —businessmen, the self-employed, the buyers and sellers and the rest? In order to stop these abuses, would it not be a good idea to introduce a rebate for those who pay their tax on time and to charge those who do not the current rates of interest on the outstanding income tax payment which is due?

Mr. Higgins

It most certainly is not the case that we are closing a blind eye or, indeed, an open eye. It is a matter which we keep under close review. Indeed, most of the sanctions—for example, the rate of interest—have been reviewed recently. We think that the present balance which we are striking is about right. If there is any change in the situation, we shall consider it.

Following is the answer to the first part of the Question:

The amounts of income tax unpaid but collectible at 31st March out of the charge raised in the year are as follows:

£ million
1965 48
1966 90
1967 69
1968 89
1969 96
1970 118
The figures do not include tax under P.A.Y.E. or Schedule 9 which are not normally assessed. Figures are not available of the collectible arrears at 31st March out of charges raised in earlier years.