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Quarterly tax return proposals to be debated in Parliament this month

The Government has responded to an online petition against proposals for quarterly tax return submissions for small businesses and self-employed professionals by confirming the matter will be up for debate in Parliament on 25th January.

Chancellor, George Osborne announced in his Autumn Statement plans to transform HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) into a fully digital operation.

Almost 107,000 signatures have been attributed to the online petition, which has forced the Government to put it on its list of matters for debate in Parliament.

Many small business lobbying groups have voiced concerns that thousands of micro businesses could be forced to close their doors for the last time due to the prospect of additional red tape and a quarterly tax return filing regime.

Indeed, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) predicts a quarterly tax return infrastructure would cost micro firms £600 more a year.

However, the Government has sought to allay those fears by stating that the new regime would not be akin to completing four full self-assessment tax returns a year.

“Quarterly updates will largely be a matter of checking data generated from record keeping software or apps and clicking ‘send’,” said the government’s official reply.

“These reforms will not mean that businesses have to provide the equivalent of four tax returns every year. Updating HMRC through software or apps will deliver a light-touch process, much less burdensome and time-consuming than it is today.

“In most cases, little or no further entry of information will be needed. It will be much quicker to complete than the current tax return.”

In less than a fortnight the matter will be up for Parliamentary debate, after which a video and transcript will be provided to all those who have signed the petition against the proposed regime.

Image: Derek Key

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