(Except clauses 4, 19, 23, 26 to 29, 87 to 92, 131 and 134 and schedules 1, 5 and 38) - Clause 132 - Mandatory e-filing

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 25th June 2002.

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Photo of Dawn Primarolo Dawn Primarolo Paymaster General (HM Treasury) 4:45 pm, 25th June 2002

The intermediary provisions, which allow returns to be made on an employer's behalf, are no different from the current arrangements. Intermediaries already file information electronically, and we want to move to a situation in which all the information arrives in that way. I accept that we do not yet have the provisions concerning the move to require electronic filing for all submissions by 2010.

It will be necessary, following on from the Carter review and the fact that the Government put the review out to further consultation—[Interruption.] The idea that there was a huge clamour of horror from all businesses saying that they did not want the change is

not correct. There was a request about the drafting of the regulations and agreement on the areas covered by them, and that will be subject to further discussions. In 2004–05, we shall start the process of paying over the five years the £420 million that we are prepared to invest to help small businesses to move to electronic filing.

All the amendments are designed to prevent the requirement for filing to occur electronically by 2010. I understand Opposition Members' objections, but I simply do not agree with them, and I ask my hon. Friends to reject the amendments if they are put to a vote. Following some of the points that have drifted into this debate, perhaps the debate on the next amendment will be a suitable forum in which to clarify the issue of exceptions, should any be needed, to the regulations.