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SMEs hindered by complex tax system, says business group

› SMEs hindered by complex tax system, says business group

Half of small businesses spend between two and eight hours each month trying to understand and calculate their taxes and complete their returns, a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found.

The survey of 2,198 FSB members found that a further 11 per cent of respondents spend between two and six days per month working on their taxes.

The survey also found:

  • 77 per cent spend up to £5,000 on professionals' fees and on software in order to keep up-to-date with their obligations
  • two thirds estimate they spend £3,651 a year on tax obligations
  • 30 per cent said cash flow problems had caused them to pay their taxes late
  • 19 per cent said they'd made late payments because of difficulty understanding what was required or confusion over payment dates.

The FSB's national chairman, John Allan, said:

"Small firms are losing a serious amount of time completing these forms and it's tantamount to money down the drain as they could spend that time growing their business. The economy is just starting to pick-up and it is the UK's army of small firms that will drive the growth and create jobs.

"There have been long-running issues with complex tax statuses if you're a sole trader or running an incorporated business. Creating one new tax system, removing the choice will make it simpler. It will free up time for businesses, it will give them the time to grow and contribute further to the prosperity of UK-plc."

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