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BfS pressure contributes to UK Chancellor’s climbdown on quarterly tax returns for SMEs

Quarterly Tax Returns
Written by Michelle Rodger

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, CEO of Business for Scotland, today welcomed the decision of the UK Government to delay the contentious plans for small businesses to submit quarterly tax returns, as previously proposed by the UK Government.

He said:

“We are delighted that pressure from Business for Scotland and many other business organisations have forced what is an exceptionally embarrassing climb down for the government – I wrote to the Chancellor in February 2016 explaining why the quarterly returns needed to be delayed for smaller businesses and eventually they have seen sense.

“BfS surveyed our members and found almost universal objections to the move.”

•    93% of those surveyed thought that it would cost them more or significantly more to file the extra tax returns
•    Many believe they had enough challenges in the current climate to deal with and that extra admin will take them away from growing their business
•    The majority were very concerned about increased stress and fear that accountancy fees will increase significantly
•    They expressed worries that not only will penalties for mistakes (which they see as being three times more likely) be restrictive, they fear this will prompt a move in towards quarterly payments, which will severely damage small businesses in terms of cash flow.
•    They worried they will be constantly preparing for the next tax return and, despite promises of light touch regulation, they see this as the prelude to a tougher stance on accuracy and lateness fines in the future.

“Quarterly returns would create unnecessary red tape, which will inflict additional costs on small business owners and act as a disincentive to entrepreneurs. These are people who are least able to afford the time and cost of these changes, and are vital to growing our economy,” added Mr MacIntyre-Kemp.

“The cost to the owner of a small business with near to the minimum profit level of £10,000 will be the same as for a business owner with more than £100,000 of profit and so those with smaller business who are less able to afford the time and additional costs will be those most disadvantaged.

“This rethink is the right decision to take, and we will happily consult with the government and other organisations to explore what could potentially be the best option for our members and SMEs across the country.”

The response from Treasury Minister David Gauke at the time thanked us for raising our concerns but made it clear they would not be backing down as they now have.

Business for Scotland was one of the first business groups to advise of the folly of the change to quarterly filing and raised the issue multiple times with the UK Government and in conversations with MP’s of various parties.
Business slams Westminster for “anti-entrepreneurial” tax return plans

For further information please contact Michelle Rodger

About the author

Michelle Rodger

Michelle is a former national newspaper journalist who co-founded an award-winning IT business before launching Tartan Cat Communications. A social media and crowdfunding expert she manages media and communications for Business for Scotland.

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