Also in the news this week - 4 December 2015

4 December 2015

HMRC's online plans "intensive and intrusive"

Plans to shift HMRC's tax system online could make life more difficult for small firms, accountancy group UHY Hacker Young is warning. Roy Maugham, tax partner at UHY Hacker Young, said: "These plans signify a more intensive and intrusive method of data collection from HMRC. SMEs will be required to spend time that they don't have on tax reporting, impacting on their efficiency." And he also warned: "The data gathered online is likely to lead much more quickly into HMRC launching tax enquiries into SMEs and sole traders".

Customers love small firms - but not their websites

Small businesses need to up their game when it comes to website design and functionality, according to a new survey. An online poll by YouGov for 123-reg found that 59% of British adults who have purchased items online from a business website feel large business websites are generally better than small business websites, and this rises to 78% for 18-24 year olds. And yet only 3% of respondents disagreed that offline, small businesses provide a more personal service than big businesses.

The Black Friday effect benefits SMEs

The UK's high street retailers received a 40% boost in average retail spending during Black Friday and small retailers across the UK saw a big jump in takings. Data software provider Vend reports that retail spending in Bristol's small retailers increased by 79% compared to an average Friday in November, while in London spending in SME retailers rose by 62% and in Birmingham by 60%. "It's not just the big box stores that are seeing an upsurge in sales on Black Friday - independent retailers are also getting in on the action," said Vaughan Rowsell, ceo and founder of Vend.

Should income tax and NICs be aligned?

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) is to consult with businesses, professional bodies and advisers as part of its investigation into whether income tax and National Insurance should be more closely aligned. Announced in the Summer budget, this simplification review will close on 31 December 2015. Anyone that wants to contribute to the review can email the OTS team at [email protected].