(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 4:30 pm on 25th June 2002.

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Photo of Dawn Primarolo Dawn Primarolo Paymaster General (HM Treasury) 4:30 pm, 25th June 2002

It means the same as is already operational in the tax system and the same requirements that are applied now with regard to the obligations of employers to make PAYE returns. I understand that the hon. Gentleman may be a little cynical, but I cannot understand why it is something that the Committee should consider in a cynical vein when the Government provide for a direct payment to encourage employers in a matter that employers have identified as having high compliance costs, and are prepared to invest in payment to assist the employer to make those returns electronically.

The clause provides for the same provisions to apply for electronic transmission as for the current paper submissions that can be made by employers. That goes to the heart of the hon. Gentleman's points. He wants employers to be able to choose whether to file electronically for PAYE, whereas the Government wish all employers to do so, after a period of time and investment. To remove the penalties would render the clause useless—which is the hon. Gentleman's intention in moving the amendment. The Government reject it and ask the Committee to do so. Our objective is to move to electronic filing by 2010. It is staggering that in this day and age, with the speed of developments in e-commerce, members of a Committee of the House would declare that they do not wish to assist employers to move to electronic filing or provide the investment necessary to achieve that.