HC Deb 22 June 1998 vol 314 c395W
Mrs. Lait

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his policy towards small businesses which are in arrears with VAT; and on what grounds he is prepared to accept a schedule of repayments. [45406]

Dawn Primarolo

Whenever businesses experience genuine short-term difficulties with their VAT, it is normal practice for Customs to encourage them to contact their local office with a view to agreeing settlements. Customs review each time-to-pay proposal on its merits but give careful consideration to any reasonable proposal for settlement. However, agreement to payment of a debt by instalments cannot be regarded in any way as a normal business expectation: Customs expect a business to explore alternative sources of finance first and to put forward realistic proposals for meeting their legal requirements.

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