Clause 225 - Data-gathering from merchant acquirers etc

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 20 June 2013.

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Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Exchequer Secretary 3:15, 20 June 2013

Clause 225 enables Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to gather data from a new source. Merchant acquirers process credit and debit card payments on behalf of retailers. Aggregated data about those payments will allow HMRC to get independent verification of the sales figures that businesses declare on their tax returns.

A data holder can appeal against a notice to a business that processes card payments if the notice is unduly onerous. Regulations will specify the data to be collected. The information is limited to identifying businesses and their card sales; the regulations will not permit HMRC to get information about individual card holders. HMRC has been discussing the provision of these data with the major merchant acquirers. The cost of this change for merchant acquirers is expected to be minimal, and it will not affect retailers whose tax affairs are in order.

As you say, Mr Amess, the hon. Gentleman’s comments were an ingenious attempt to debate an amendment that has not been selected. I suspect there is a reason why it was not selected: it takes us outside the scope of the Bill.