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Review to examine small business tax administration


The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) is to carry out a review of how bureaucracy in the tax system is hindering small businesses.


In a letter to the OTS, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, has asked the organisation to examine small firms’ experience of tax administration and ‘their contact with HMRC at key stages of their annual cycle.’


‘The first OTS reports have provided the basis for some genuine moves towards a simpler tax system,’ wrote Gauke. ‘To build on this excellent start, the Chancellor and I would like the OTS to look at ways to improve the tax administration for small business.’


The review will also consider the issues involved in starting and growing a new business.


‘It’s clear that many small businesses are struggling under the administrative burdens imposed by the UK tax system,’ said John Whiting, interim tax director at the OTS.


‘We plan to set up surveys and more road shows to really home in on what steps cause the most difficulties – and how the system can be improved, making it easier for businesses to get things right with the minimum of fuss.’


The OTS was set up last year to analyse tax reliefs, allowances and exemptions, and to conduct a review of business taxation with a view to reducing complexity.


Publishing its findings ahead of this year’s Budget, the OTS identified 47 reliefs which it said should be abolished and 17 which need to be simplified, including Entrepreneurs’ Relief and the Enterprise Investment Scheme.


The OTS will report its latest findings on small business tax administration ahead of the 2012 Budget.