Clause 30 - Failure to comply with requirements

Part of Tax Credits Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:30 pm on 22 January 2002.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 6:30, 22 January 2002

Clause 30 introduces yet more penalties, not for incorrect statements but for failure to supply information. Amendment No. 71 would remove from its scope people who are in the process of making a claim. For reasons that we will deal with in a moment, they should not be penalised if they do not supply information that they have been asked for, thereby halting the processing of their claim. That is the significant point.

As the CPAG remarked,

''people have liabilities to pay tax but they do not have liabilities to claim tax credits.''

People can decide whether they wish to claim, see through a claim or withdraw a claim that they have initiated. Under the clause, which includes a reference to section 14(2), they can be penalised a £300 lump sum and another £60 a day for not providing information that would facilitate the progressing of a claim.

If someone decides to withdraw a claim, they would suffer a penalty for not supplying information that would facilitate processing it. For example, they may realise that information of a personal nature that they do not want to disclose, perhaps to a partner, would become known. Indeed, there is no obvious facility for withdrawing a claim; again, applicants would suffer a penalty for not supplying information.

The amendment would remove the penalties, not for people who are receiving or who have received money or who fail to supply information that might reduce the amount of the payment, but for people who have only made an initial claim. They should be able to withdraw the claim or give it up by not supplying information. At present, that appears to incur a penalty, which is not appropriate.