Select Committee on Select Committee on the Adoption and Children Bill Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter from Yvette Gayford, Director, Parents and Children Together (Pact)

  I would like to draw the following issue to the Committee's attention. There appears to be a degree of confusion regarding the application of VAT on the payment of Intercountry Adoption Fees. These are fees payable by applicants for preparation workshops and the production of the Form F and for presentation at Panel of their adoption application.

  Parents And Children Together is one of the largest Approved Overseas Adoption Agencies and we undertake work for eleven Local and Unitary Authorities. We have recently been advised that our adopters will now be obliged to pay VAT on their fees as this is not perceived by our local Customs and Excise Office to be a "welfare provision".

  As the Government are about to implement the Hague Convention it seems odd that a further obstacle should be placed in the way of would be adopters to going through the correct channels. I have appealed to the Department of Health for clarification on this matter but regrettably they have stated that they cannot intervene in the work of another Department. In addition they are concerned that the question of VAT on the domestic Interagency Fee may also be raised. If this were to be the case then Voluntary Adoption Agencies would be involved in further unnecessary administration because Local Authorities would reclaim any VAT charged by them.

  It would be most helpful if all adoption fee activity both domestic and overseas could be regarded as zero-rated for VAT purposes and that this could be written into the new legislation. The provision of Social Work reports on the suitability of people to adopt children must surely be regarded as a "Welfare Provision" and also a very important aspect of Child Protection.

  If the Committee require any further information on this issue please do not hesitate to contact me.

April 2001

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