§ Mr. John Browne
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement as to the difficulties being experienced by the Custom and Excise in raising value added tax due from United Kingdom corporations; and what is his estimate of the value added tax arrears for each of the past 12 months.
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne:
There have been no difficulties in collecting VAT from United Kingdom corporations which have not also been encountered in collecting VAT from non-corporate traders. With all traders the major 407W difficulty is the tendency to retain tax collected from customers after it is due to be paid to Customs and Excise in order to improve cash flow at the expense of the revenue. However, the collection of VAT from large VAT payers, including most of the large United Kingdom corporations, has continued to be satisfactory.
During the first eight months of 1982 almost one-third of the tax due from the large VAT payers was received on or before the due date and less that 5 per cent. was still outstanding at 30 days after due date. Customs and Excise is continuing its efforts to improve the compliance of the minority of large payers who regularly delay payment.
As at 8 October 1982 the total amount of VAT outstanding on unpaid returns and assessments for each of the latest tweleve months for which information is available is estimated to be:
Tax Period*ended $ million 31 August 1981 55 30 September 1981 40 31 October 1981 35 31 November 1981 35 31 December 1981 30 31 January 1982 45 28 February 1982 45 31 March 1982 40 30 April 1982 70 31 May 1982 120 30 June 1982 100 31 July 1982 250 * The periods ended 31 August 1981 and 30 September 1981 were each six months; all the other periods were three months.