Chancellor Urged To Act On Tax Simplification Proposals

A small business support organisation has called for radical tax simplification proposals to be acted upon in the forthcoming Budget.

The Forum of Private Business is urging Chancellor George Osborne to put in place the small business-friendly tax policies submitted by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) last week.

The OTS says its recommendations, which it made in a new report, are aimed at reducing the large administrative burden placed on smaller businesses by the current tax rules.

Chief among them is a proposal to merge income tax and National Insurance for employees of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Measures to heavily streamline the taxation of sole traders, partnerships and the self-employed are also put forward in the OTS report.

In its Budget submission, the Forum outlines a series of further ways that the tax system for SMEs could be significantly simplified and improved.

The Forum's tax policies, which tie in with the proposals outlined in the organisation's new ‘Get Britain Trading' campaign, are based on surveys of Forum members' views and experiences.

In a recent poll, (Tax and Budget member panel survey, January 2011) 57% of Forum members said they were so frustrated with the complexity of the UK tax system, they would even be prepared to pay more tax if a radical simplification programme gave them greater opportunity to develop and grow their businesses. A survey carried out by the Forum in 2009 showed that tax administration costs small businesses in the UK £1.8 billion every year, mainly due to internal time costs.

The Forum is also calling for fundamental tax principles to be introduced that incentivise businesses to employ staff (including consolidating and reducing employment-specific taxes) and reward them for making a profit.

Further, the Forum is demanding that the tax system be made fairer for SMEs, and believes the Budget should help non-employers to take on their first member of staff, and subsequent employees, by consolidating and reducing employment-specific taxes.

They are also urging the Government to make businesses more profitable by reducing corporation tax to 17% for all firms by 2014.

The Forum's Head of Campaigns, Jane Bennett added: "Many business owners feel understandably aggrieved over the amounts of tax they are forced to pay - especially given the recent publicity surrounding the elaborate tax avoidance measures employed by many big businesses.

"We believe this year's Budget provides an opportunity for the Chancellor to level the playing field through some long-overdue changes to the tax system and Get Britain Trading by reinvigorating the UK's vitally important SME sector."


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