Business leaders call on taxman to cut red tape for small businesses


Adam Marshall, director of policy and external affairs at the British Chambers of Commerce, has called for the Government to cut tax administration red tape for businesses.


In a letter to Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Mr Marshall and Oliver Letwin, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, called for a similar amount to be invested in support for Revenue & Customs' business users as is being spent on enforcement.


The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement revealed plans to increase the Revenue’s powers, giving it the ability to recover 'established debt' due under an 'accelerated payment notice' or APN. It’s hoped that this will yield almost £500 million over the next five years.

The issue of tax administration has risen to become one of the major issues raised by businesses to the network of Chambers of Commerce across the UK.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) also backed Mr Marshall’s call for the Government to simplify tax affairs for business. Following the Autumn Statement, the ICAEW criticised plans to introduce the requirement to file quarterly tax returns.


Tax issues can be very problematic for businesses, especially if they get lost in a maze of red tape. Unpaid tax bills can soon mount up and could lead to company insolvency if left unmanaged. It’s essential that businesses facing trouble with tax issues seek professional advice as soon as possible as there are a number of possible solutions available to them.


Mr Marshall called for tax measures to be included in the Government’s ‘one in two out’ policy on reducing red tape and suggested that the Revenue should be subject to the same reporting requirements as bodies with regulatory responsibilities.


The letter from Mr Marshall also follows a statement from the Public Accounts Committee that claimed the Revenue was keen to pursue tax debts from SMEs but “seems to lose its nerve” when it came to larger multinational firms.


By Phil Smith


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