Business says ‘we’ll pay more for simplification’

BUSINESSMEN are so concerned by the complexity of the UK corporate tax system they would rather pay more to the taxman in return for simplification and a reduction in avoidance among big competitors.

A survey by the Forum of Private Business (FPB) found 57% of those asked would pay more in return for a simplifaction.

Phil Orford, FPB’s chief executive, said: “The cost of complying with Britain’s hugely complex tax system is such that, if simplification and profitability result, most businesses believe a little more tax would be a price worth paying.

“Clearly, if the government is serious about stimulating small business growth, streamlining tax administration must be a priority.

“In addition, small businesses are deeply concerned that the tax system favours large companies and is deeply unfair. Plans to clamp down on tax avoidance, for example, seem to fall short in several areas.”

One of the new goverment’s first measures was to set up the Office of Tax Simplification under John Whiting, a former partner at PwC. His project has identified more than 1,000 tax reliefs for review and has made preliminary recommendations on 13 of them. A more detailed report is due out in the spring.

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