§ Mr. Andrew Bowden
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the number of those aged 65 years or over liable to income tax who fail to claim the age allowance; and whether he will takes steps to grant the age allowance automatically to those aged 65 years or over without the obligation to claim.
§ Mr. Norman Lamont
No information is available on the number of those aged 65 and over who have failed to claim age allowance, but there is no evidence to suggest that the figure is substantial.
In order to give the benefit of age allowance the tax office needs to know the date of birth of the taxpayer (and his wife). A taxpayer is asked to show this information on his tax return if either he or his wife will be aged over 60 or over during the coming year. Although most taxpayers are not now regularly asked to complete tax returns, where a taxpayer retires from full-time employment he will normally be asked to make a return, and this will give him the opportunity to supply the information. If he does so he can normally expect age allowance to be given at the appropriate time without any further action on his part, provided that his income (including his wife's income) is within the appropriate limit.
If my hon. Friend has a particular case in mind I should be glad to look into it if he will let me have the necessary details.