Business – Sole traders seek change

Chancellor Gordon Brown came under pressure this week to include the UK’s four million unincorporated sole traders in his proposals to overhaul corporation tax rules.

The Federation of Small Businesses said sole traders should be allowed to enjoy the benefits of cuts in tax along with larger companies. Currently, sole traders pay income tax at 40% on income over z26,100, while companies will enjoy a 31% tax rate after 1999.

Stephen Alambritis, a spokesman for the federation, said it placed an unfair burden on the smallest and most vulnerable businesses.

‘We want some fairness. There was an argument that sole traders enjoyed lots of allowances but these have largely disappeared over the years.

They should be shifted out of the personal tax scheme and allowed to pay corporation tax.’

The federation said it also wanted the chancellor to keep capital allowances in place. ‘We see no reason why he couldn’t take them up to 100%,’ said Alambritis. He added Brown should allow companies to write off their spending on the millennium bomb and the conversion to a single European currency.

‘Small and medium-sized companies need the most encouragement in these areas.’

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