§ Mr. Jack
Treasury Departments require information about economic activity and the collection of taxes. Forms are a very necessary part of these processes. There are several hundreds of different types of forms, many of which are variations—for example, Welsh language versions—resulting in several millions of forms issued every year, to two categories; individuals and businesses. To give precise figures would involve disproportionate cost, but the main examples are: for the Inland Revenue, 7 million individual tax returns; for HM Customs and Excise, 6.8 million VAT returns; around ½ million VAT registration forms, although only 180,000 are returned by businesses; 1.5 million Intrastat survey forms; and 175,000 betting and gaming duty forms, all issued to business; for the Office for National Statistics, 1.5 million forms in 101 separate statistical inquiries of business. The information on statistical inquiries to businesses by the Office for National Statistics is in the compliance plan for 1996 to 1998, a copy of which is in the House of Commons Library.547W
The Treasury's Departments recognise the need to keep the number of forms they require to be completed to a minimum and that those which are necessary should be well designed. They have set targets for reducing the burden they impose on businesses.