HL Deb 16 January 1979 vol 397 cc941-2WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will list (a) the amount of VAT unclaimed for each year since its inception; (b) the estimated rate of avoidance on VAT and (c) the estimated rate of evasion on VAT.

Baroness BIRK

(a) At the end of September 1978, the amounts of VAT due to the Exchequer but outstanding for each year since the inception of the tax were:

Financial Year Amountmillion)
1973–74 2.2
1974–75 9.1
1975–76 16.1
1976–77 22.9
1977–78 42.0
(b) and (c) It is not possible to estimate the extent of legal VAT avoidance or of fraudulent evasion; but Customs and Excise officers on control visits detect each year over £50 million in underdeclarations of tax (or over-declared repayment claims), an amount representing about 1 per cent. of total net receipts from the tax. An exercise conducted in 1975 suggested that at that time more intensive control of the tax might produce an additional £30 million net revenue but only at an unacceptable marginal cost of collection.