Business News

Online Filing Plans under Fire

Government plans to impose online filing on all the main businesses taxes have been criticised by tax campaigners.

The 23 March Budget confirmed that all businesses will be required to register and de-register for VAT and notify changes online from 1 August 2012, as well as filing VAT returns online and paying VAT electronically for VAT periods beginning on or after 1 April 2012.

Online VAT filing and electronic payment are already compulsory for businesses with a VAT-exclusive turnover of £100,000 or more, and those newly registering for VAT, regardless of turnover.

The government is also to consult on mandating use of the new online Registration Wizard for corporation tax, income tax self-assessment, class 2 National Insurance contributions, PAYE and VAT.

Robin Williamson, technical director of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group said: “We have seen people with disabilities that prevent them from using computers and very small businesses whose profit margins are so small that the cost of computers, broadband and training, or of appointing a professional agent, would have to be paid for by the proprietors in person.

“This they may not be able to afford, if (as is often the case) the proprietors themselves are on low incomes. Any move by the Government to compel online filing in such cases is disproportionate, and risks driving those people out of business altogether.”

He added that last November, Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude had said that every government service must be available to everyone “no matter if they are online or not.”

LINK: HMRC online services