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SMEs would pay for simplified tax

17 January 2011

Around half of UK small businesses owners would be prepared to pay more tax in return for a simplified, fairer and less cumbersome regime, according to research by the Forum of Private Business.

Well over half of those surveyed (57%) would pay more for a simplified system if it led to “greater rewards”, while 50% would do so if it cut down on tax avoidance among their larger competitors. 

Forum chief executive Phil Orford 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.”

The survey also revealed a split among business owners over the fundamental purpose of the tax system, with 59% believing it exists simply to fund the public purse, while 33% argue it should “prioritise the regulation of economic behaviour".

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