OTS publish new report on simplifying tax for SMEs

The Office for Tax Simplification (OTS) have published a new report containing ten recommendations to the Government and HMRC on how the tax regime can be simplified to better support SMEs.

The recommendations are as follows:

  1. The Government should develop and offer start-up guidance for small businesses, including step-by-step guidance on what is required at key stages in the business, with tax as a major (but not the sole) focus.
  2. A strategic focus on the PAYE system should be a priority for HMRC to ensure effective implementation of improvements and system changes.
  3. A fresh review of areas where the PAYE/RTI system should be improved should be carried out, possibly by the OTS.
  4. HMRC should appoint a senior official to oversee and prioritise implementation of the Agent Strategy.
  5. HMRC should routinely build agent awareness and needs into system design and improvement and its related guidance.
  6. HMRC should work with partners such as Companies House to develop digital options to help small companies prepare accounts and tax returns, including use of an optional accounts template that is simple to use and acceptable to HMRC and other departments.
  7. HMRC should simplify the corporation tax online return process as part of any future extension of Making Tax Digital to corporation tax, so that taxpayers only see the pages and information relevant to them and have pop-up information and help screens at key points.
  8. HMRC should explore ways to reduce the number of companies having to file two tax returns to cover first accounting periods that are very slightly longer than 12 months.
  9. HMRC should map major customer journeys for small businesses across tax regimes, to develop a programme of change to streamline the small business experience of the tax system.
  10. HMRC should review tax payment processes across core taxes and regimes, with a view to aligning and streamlining them.

The full report can be downloaded at the link below.