Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Tax returns change could cause chaos, warns FSB

Small businesses could face a period of ‘chaos’ if proposed changes to self-assessment tax returns become a reality, a business lobby group is warning. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has sounded the alarm over the Carter review’s recommendations for changes to the self-assessment filing dates for tax returns.Lord Carter of Coles was tasked with reviewing the online services of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Recommendations from the review included bringing forward self-assessment filing dates from January 31 to September 30 for paper returns and November 30 for online returns, starting in 2008. In the Budget in March the Chancellor accepted the recommendations and agreed to implement them without consultation with the accountancy profession or other interested parties.The FSB’s main objection to the move from accountants and small firms is the sheer size of the reduction in filing time. John Wright, FSB National Vice Chairman, said: “In the Budget the Chancellor accepted Carter’s recommendations without any consultation. This unilateral change of tax return dates, with no consultation or consideration of industry views, will create chaos in the short term. “This creates a shorter period in which to gather up information to complete tax returns. For small firms who submit their own returns this will increase the pressure on them. For those that use accountants it will increase the cost of doing so as their service provider will have to take on temporary staff to handle the increased workload. Either way it will cause serious difficulties for small firms and accountants. “We call on the Government to re-visit their decision to implement Carter without consultation or consideration of the practical impacts that this will have on small businesses and the accountancy profession.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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