Ahead of the 2016 Budget on 16 March, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called on the Government to implement far-reaching business rates reform, simplify the tax system and back enterprise.
Within its submission to Chancellor George Osborne, the federation urges the Government to clearly and consistently back enterprise in order to boost small business confidence.
It also states that FSB members will be ‘tested’ by upcoming policy changes, such as the introduction of the new National Living Wage (NLW), pensions auto-enrolment and the changes to the taxation of dividends, alongside the introduction of quarterly digital tax reporting.
These changes are predicted to significantly raise costs for small businesses.
The FSB revealed that its members require ‘tangible and fundamental changes to business rates as a whole’, suggesting that the current business rates system is ‘outdated’.
This appeal echoes previous requests from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) for the Government to put reform of the business rates regime at the forefront of its Budget Business Tax Roadmap document.
The CBI stated that the system ‘undermines’ both retailers and manufacturers.
Furthermore, the FSB proposes the creation of a simplified small business tax regime that would be centred on a single tax payment, in place of the complex tax system that is currently in use, which requires businesses to apply multiple taxes.
Mike Cherry, Policy Director for the FSB, said: ‘In this climate, it’s crucial that the Chancellor uses the Budget to reassure small firms and boost their confidence so that they invest, create jobs and drive economic growth. This means no new major challenges that drive up costs and burdens.
‘In addition, Mr Osborne must deliver on his promises to overhaul the business rates regime and simplify the tax system.’
Many have speculated over the contents of the Chancellor’s forthcoming Budget speech, with some predicting that Mr Osborne will reveal significant changes to pensions tax relief.
The Chancellor will present the 2016 Budget on Wednesday 16 March.