HC Deb 19 December 2001 vol 377 cc323-4W
Mr. Frank Field

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his Department spent to counter fraud in the working families tax credit in nominal terms and expressed as a percentage of the total working families tax credit expenditure in the last three years. [1151]

Mr. Clappison

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the extent of fraud in working families tax credit; how many prosecutions have been undertaken in respect of such fraud; and what plans he has to tackle fraud in WFTC. [7471]

Mr. Goodman

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the level of WFTC fraud; and if he will make a statement; [18884]

(2) how many investigations have been conducted into WFTC fraud; and how many successful prosecutions there have been since the commencement of the scheme. [18885]

Mr. Willetts

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many(a) investigations of fraudulent claims, (b) penalties for fraudulent claims, (c) prosecutions of fraudulent claims and (d) successful prosecutions for fraudulent claims there have been in respect of the working families tax credit, since its introduction, broken down into (i) monthly and (ii) quarterly periods. [2272]

Dawn Primarolo

[holding answer 28 June 2001]: The Inland Revenue is currently undertaking an exercise to benchmark the level of fraud within the working families tax credit. The full results of this will be known early next year. The findings of this exercise will then be used by the Inland Revenue to ensure that WFTC compliance work is adjusted if necessary.

The Revenue's approach to compliance is based on the progressive use of civil penalties, and prosecution in cases of criminal fraud.

The tables show the number of WFTC applications investigated by the Inland Revenue for the period from October 1999 (when the scheme began) to September 2001. Of the applications investigated for this period, 8,852 were closed in the Department's favour by recovering overpaid tax credits. At present, there are 7,560 WFTC investigations under way.

Month ending WFTC investigations opened in period Total WFTC investigations opened for quarter ending
October 0
November 608
December 730 1,338
January 1,518
February 3,009
March 5,189 9,716
April 2,620
May 2,930
June 2,987 8,537
July 3,012
August 3,797
September 2,368 9,177
October 1,553
November 2,135
December 1,692 5,380
January 2,446
February 2,483
March 2,393 7,322
April 1,257
May 1,317
June 1,486 4,060
July 2,749
August 1,349
September 1,615 5,713
Approximate number of penalties imposed for false WFTC applications1 478
Number of successful prosecutions for false WFTC applications1 13
Number of prosecutions for false WFTC applications1 22
Number of prosecutions pending as at 22 November 2001 9
1October 1999 to September 2001

While tax credit applications are received and processed centrally, compliance work associated with them is also undertaken in network offices throughout the UK and consequently it is not possible to answer specific questions about the proportion of the Inland Revenue's compliance costs that relate to Tax Credits.

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