Examination of Witnesses (Questions 280
MONDAY 22 OCTOBER 2001
MONTAGU KCB, MR
280. If you take the conclusion of my arithmetic
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) I would be a very unwise man
to do that, Mr Williams.
281. Take it in general terms. It seems to me
looking at the figures we have of, as I say, the yield that was
at risk, the savings that have been made administratively and
then the 20 per cent that you claim, over the five years there
is still a gap of 4.5 billion. That is a lot of money. How optimistic
are you that you are going to be able to make inroads into this
4.5 billion potential yield that has not been collected over the
past five years and, therefore, there is one billion a year that
is not being collected at the moment?
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) I think without signing up
to the 4.5 billion, Mr Williams, since I agree with you that we
should take it generally, what we are hoping to do is what I have
spent a good deal of this hearing trying to explain to the Committee.
By refining our indicators of risk, by doing more to get in late
returns and the tax associated with them, by more efficient application
of daily penalties, by augmenting the activities of our risk,
intelligence and assessment teams with the right track teams,
by the support side, better publicity, simpler forms, the support
of the business support teams, really action on all the fronts
that we can identify, coupled with critically another theme that
I identified, a better understanding of how our taxpayers segment,
and by the combined effects of what I have described as enabling
and regulating, we will make real inroads into that yield.
282. Thank you, Mr Williams. You will be glad
to hear we are almost finished, we are into injury time and there
are a couple more questions, I am afraid.
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) Injury time as distinct from
noise time is that, Chairman, or do I have noise time after that
Chairman: One from Mr Gardiner and one from
283. To Mr Hartnett, if I may. When a criminal
is convicted of drug dealing is there a standard procedure to
ensure that you are called in to tax their trading activity? I
was not clear on the answer that you gave earlier.
(Mr Hartnett) I am not aware of any standard procedure.
Quite often at the end of a trial like that there will be a confiscation
order made by the judge in those criminal proceedings and there
will be nothing left for us to tax. We do look at cases like that
but no procedure of the sort you mentioned.
284. Will you institute one?
(Mr Hartnett) We will give it careful thought.
285. You told us that where you have charged
somebody £100 because they are a late payer you will repay
any excess in the amount of tax that they are then due less than
£100. What happens in two other cases. Firstly, if actually
they overpay the tax do they get their £100 plus perhaps
the £50 that they have overpaid?
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) Yes, they do.
286. If they are due £101 do they then
have to pay the £1 extra or do they get charged £100
and get £101 back?
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) If they are owed £101
287. Sorry. If they owe less than £100
they get the £100 back. What happens if they owe £101,
do they have to pay the £1 extra or do they have to pay the
£101 tax and the £100 charge?
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) They pay £201. You have
to have some thresholds.
Mr Rendel: So if they owe £99 they pay
£99 but if they are on £101 they pay £201. What
an extraordinary system. I quite understand that it is not your
system. I fully understand that it is Parliament's fault and not
288. Thank you, you have been in that chair
now for three hours
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) It does not seem a second too
Chairman: You promised us a note on marketing
and communication efforts. Thank you for your courtesy and your
skill in answering our questions.
21 Ev, Appendix 1, p32. Back