Revenue to blame for SME woes, say FDs

The growth of the UK’s small business sector is being severely hampered by the Inland Revenue, according to this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Finance Big Question survey.

Almost 60% of finance directors who responded to the survey believe the Revenue is an obstacle to small business growth, with just a paltry 18% of FDs disagreeing.

‘I would rate government red tape, that is Revenue and HMCE requirements, as one of the top five obstacles to growth for any SME,’ said one respondent.

‘Someone with some commercial sense needs to step in and turn both of these organisations around.’

The survey follows last week’s news that the Revenue is set to ignore the sector again by launching an internal review of tax policy without consulting taxpayers or their advisers.

However, one FD said the blame lay higher up the food chain at the doors of the Treasury itself.

‘I believe that the Revenue is only the instrument of government and the difficulties stem from its attempts to implement policy from an increasingly complex and aggressive tax regime,’ the FD said.

It was a view backed up by another FD, who said: ‘The Revenue should not be blamed as it is the government behind them making these decisions.’

Of those who responded to the survey, 56% said that the Revenue was an obstacle to small business growth, while 18% disagreed and 26% remained neutral.

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