Clause 305 - Mutual assistance: customs union with the Principality of Andorra

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 24th June 2004.

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Photo of John Healey John Healey The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 9:45 am, 24th June 2004

This a relatively straightforward clause, which provides mutual assistance between Andorra and the UK in the recovery of customs debts. It will enable the UK and Andorra to assist each other in the recovery of customs debts owed to one by businesses that are established, or have assets in the other. The clause deals with current UK legislation and provides for mutual assistance in debt recovery between the UK and other member states and Andorra.

As the hon. Gentleman says, the clause applies only to customs debts arising from unpaid customs duties payable on imports or exports. The mutual assistance provisions do not extend to indirect taxes such as VAT, excise duties, charges such as agricultural duties or direct taxes such as income tax or corporation tax.

The safeguards are identical to those that apply to intra-EU mutual assistance. They will be in place to allow the taxpayer to challenge disputed liabilities. I will, as the hon. Gentleman requests, write to him about goods and services, and I commend the clause.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 305 ordered to stand part of the Bill.