Clause 96 - Penalty for assisting in preparation of incorrect return etc

Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:35 pm on 10th June 2003.

Alert me about debates like this

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of John Baron John Baron Conservative, Billericay

I have a quick question for the Chief Secretary on which I would appreciate clarification. The provision seems to mirror section 99 of the Taxes Management Act 1970. It would appear wrong that the same document—the incorrect return—should be capable of attracting penalties under both provisions. That could be seen in some quarters as a doubling of the statutory maximum penalty. I seek the Chief Secretary's clarification on that, and his confirmation that that will not be the case.

Photo of Mr Paul Boateng Mr Paul Boateng Chief Secretary, HM Treasury, The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

The clause applies section 99 of the Taxes Management Act 1970 to stamp duty land tax. It does not duplicate the 1970 Act, but it does apply the provision to stamp duty land tax. If people were to seek to evade two taxes, whether on one form or two, they would face two penalties, which seems perfectly reasonable. People seeking to evade two taxes could pay a maximum penalty of £6,000, which no one would object to.

Photo of John Baron John Baron Conservative, Billericay

May I just be clear? The Chief Secretary's view is correct, but could one incorrect return attract penalties under both provisions? Could one offence be taken up by both provisions, which exactly mirror each other?

Photo of Mr Paul Boateng Mr Paul Boateng Chief Secretary, HM Treasury, The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

I do not think that there is such a risk, but if you were to evade two taxes you would face two penalties.

Photo of Mr John McWilliam Mr John McWilliam Labour, Blaydon

The Chief Secretary is saying ''you''. I am not evading any taxes; I was very happy with my assessment this year.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 96 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 97 ordered to stand part of the Bill.