Ruth Mitchell

Small firms 'should be able to pay flexibly'

The number of unpaid tax bills increased by 20% last year, according to official figures released by the National Audit Office. The number of tax debts in the UK rose last year to 15.8m, sparking fears that many small firms will struggle to pay the tax they owe.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has called for small businesses to be allowed to pay tax owed on a more flexible timescale.

The CIOT believe small businesses that would not have experienced financial difficulties in normal economic circumstances should be allowed extended time to pay tax to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

“What we have seen in the last month has been quite exceptional. No small business, even in a worst-case scenario, would have planned for such an event,” said Peter Fanning, CIOT chief executive.

“There are various things that can be done to help businesses, such as wider publicity of HMRC’s Time to Pay facilities, and allowing them to pay the tax they owe at a time when they are able.”

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