Northern Isles MP, Alistair Carmichael, has said the government needs to further consider the effect that introducing digital tax returns will have on businesses with poor broadband connectivity.
Mr Carmichael has previously questioned the government on the need to introduce quarterly tax returns and move all administration online. The Treasury have now announced 6 public consultations for their ‘Making Tax Digital’ programme including moves to exempt small firms with modest turnovers from the proposals.
However, Mr Carmichael wants more clarity on plans to provide financial assistance to small firms who will need to pay their tax online and measures to support those with unreliable internet connections.
Commenting, Mr Carmichael said:
“The government will say their plans are well-intentioned and part of streamlining the administrative burden that small businesses face. I am pleased that they have listened to the concerns raised by a number of firms throughout the UK. This has been seen in the decision to exempt a number of businesses from the obligations.
“However, I am disappointed that there appears to be little acknowledgment that for many businesses this will actually make life more burdensome. My experience from talking to local companies in the Northern Isles is that the system of tax administration is already difficult enough. I know that many who are already frustrated with unreliable broadband will not relish the prospect of going wholly digital for such important forms.
“It is vital that the government now reassure businesses in this position by clearly outlining the way they will provide the extra support, so local firms, in already challenging positions, are not further disadvantaged by these plans.”
The consultation documents are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/digital-revolution-for-the-tax-system-to-cut-red-tape-for-british-business