Businesses expect Budget action plan, top six poll finds

TAX SIMPLIFICATION, productivity and a crackdown on tax evasion and avoidance are just three items that businesses hope George Osborne will tackle in the Budget today, finds top six firm BDO.

The chancellor is set to deliver his eighth Budget in the House of Commons today, with advisers predicting a revenue-raising speech as he continues to eliminate the deficit before the end of the decade.

Simplification and fairness

According to teh BDO poll of over 650 businesses, companies feel frustrated by the perceived lack of government action on tax avoidance and evasion, a subject that has been thrusted into the public domain following Google’s £130m settlement with HMRC over years of unpaid corporation tax.

Companies now expect Osborne to deliver a triple-point action plan focussing on fairness, simplification and certainty in this afternoon’s Budget.

Nearly half (47%) of those surveyed said they want the government to tackle tax evasion head on, with a third (31%) saying it should be HMRC’s number one priority in the next 12 months.

‘Step in the right direction’

Businesses are also calling for simplification of the tax system, with 55% urging the government to simplify payroll taxes via the closer alignment of NI and income tax. The OTS last week outlines its plans to do so, revealing that 7.1 million people will pay less NICs if alignment is pursued.

David Brookes, tax partner at BDO, has urged the chancellor to introduce more benefits for businesses and a focus on tax simplification.

“It is clear that businesses up and down the country want fairness in the system, a reduction in red tape and certainty of a future worth investing in. None of these are unreasonable requests but the Chancellor has a difficult task ahead of him.

“The introduction of a capital allowance for digital infrastructure (to include investment in automation and online control systems) and an increase in the Annual Investment Allowance until 2020 (for expenditure on plant and machinery) would be a step in the right direction, helping to boost productivity and drive future growth.”

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