HC Deb 19 July 1977 vol 935 c476W
Mr. David Mitchell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the number of different questionaires sent out by his Department and agencies reponsible to it to companies and self-employed business people; and how many of each sort were sent out for the most recent year for which information is available.

Mr. Robert Sheldon,

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 18th July 1977]; gave the following information

Questionnaires are issued by the Inland Revenue in regard to three statistical surveys, two quarterly and one annual, requesting information which is supplied voluntarily. These are:

  1. (a) a quarterly inquiry into pay and tax, in which a panel of employers give estimates of the total wages and salaries paid in the preceding quarter and of the PAYE tax deducted. About 1,400 questionnaires are issued each quarter. The panel includes local authorities as well as companies, but does not include any self-employed;
  2. (b) a quarterly inquiry into company profits, in which a panel of large companies provide estimates of their gross trading profits in the preceding quarter. About 600 questionnaires are issued each quarter;
  3. (c) an annual inquiry in January each year in which businesses whose profits have previously exceeded a specific figure and who have not already supplied the information are invited to provide estimates of their gross trading profits in their latest complete accounting period. The number of questionnaires issues is not recorded, but nearly 27,000 businesses supplied information in the last inquiry.

The results of the surveys are used in the provision of quarterly and annual estimates of wages and salaries and company profits for the national income accounts and in the estimation of tax due thereon for the purpose of budgetary forecasting.

Her Majesty's Customs and Excise sent out two questionnaires during 1976. About 100 holders of licences to operate gaming machines during the holiday season were contacted for a one-off survey. About 35,000 questionnaires were issued to exporters during 1976 in a continuing survey to verify the values declared on Customs export documents. No information is available to distinguish companies from self-employed business people.