HC Deb 14 January 1998 vol 304 cc217-8W
Mr. Sanders

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what representations he has received about the filing deadline for submission of self assessment tax returns; [22499]

(2) what plans he has to extend the filing deadline for submission of self assessment tax returns; [22498]

(3) if he will make a statement on the filing deadline for self assessment tax returns; [22540]

(4) how many self assessment tax returns have been rejected by Inland Revenue staff since self assessment was introduced; [22518]

(5) what estimates he has made of the number of self assessment tax returns (a) likely to be received before the deadline date and (b) expected not to meet the deadline. [22550]

Dawn Primarolo

Self assessment tax returns are due from individuals, partnerships and trusts for the tax year 1996–97. The statutory filing date for these returns is 31 Janaury 1998. There are no plans to extend this deadline. Although representations have been received from a number of tax practitioners seeking an extension to the filing date, others have argued against an extension. The timetable for filing returns is a realistic one, details of which have been known for the last four years.

During the pilot exercises carried out to test the new system, between 85 per cent. and 90 per cent. of returns were received by the deadline despite there being no national advertising campaign or any penalties charged for late filing. The Inland Revenue expect the vast majority of taxpayers to meet this year's deadline and will continue to give as much assistance and advice as they reasonably can to help taxpayers and their agents do this.

Of the returns filed by 30 September 1997, about 6 per cent. had to be sent back to taxpayers, mainly because of basic errors—such as missing signatures or pages—which the Inland Revenue were unable to correct. However, this error rate has fallen in respect of returns received more recently. The majority of returns that were sent back to taxpayers have now been corrected and re-submitted to the Inland Revenue.

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