Does HMRC treat all businesses fairly?

May 13, 2019

According to a recent British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) survey, three in five businesses (58 per cent) believe the tax system is “fundamentally unfair”.

The figures have revealed that out of 1,000 respondents, 67 per cent said they don’t feel HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) apply tax rules fairly across all businesses.

The survey also found that many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) want and need more support to stay compliant, as new rules and regulations such as Making Tax Digital are frequently being introduced.

Nearly half of the firms (49 per cent) said that HMRC doesn’t give the support they need to stay compliant with the tax system, whether it’s on Brexit preparation or their tax affairs.

Another frustration raised by respondents was they felt the governing body fail to understand the amount of time and money small businesses need to spend on staying up to date with the rules.

The survey findings suggest that the smaller the business, the more likely they are to think the system is broken.

As a result, the BCC is calling on HMRC to match the level of investment in its work to reduce tax avoidance with “funding for support and advice to businesses.”

Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the BCC, said: “When it comes to compliance there is a tendency for HMRC to see smaller businesses as low hanging fruit and as a consequence they feel under the constant threat of being called out for getting things wrong in a tax system that has grown ever more complex.”

Mr Thiru added: “The lack of guidance, along with the costs that come along with keeping up with the rules, is hindering the ability for British businesses to “get on and invest, train their staff, and compete on the global stage.”

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