New online forum launched by HMRC to give small business owners tax advice

George Hay Chartered Accountants

A new online forum has been launched by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) which has been designed to help business owners resolve simple issues associated with starting up and growing a company.

The new website features a message board, discussions and a webchat where business owners can raise queries with HMRC’s tax experts in real time.

Categories listed on the site currently include starting, managing and growing a business, with a separate area for information about tax reliefs.

In an official statement, Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: “The UK’s 5.4 million small businesses play a vital role in our economy. We want to help businesses get off the ground and support them as they grow.

“That is why we are launching a new forum and webchat service which will give these companies useful hints and tips – including how to complete tax returns, grow a business and trade outside the UK – so that they can continue to flourish.”

While many have welcomed this new avenue of contact with HMRC, there are fears that the advice provided may not be precise enough to remedy each business’s unique issues and many are recommending that it be used alongside professional advice from accountants.

Partner, Martin Williams, commented: “Whilst we agree that online resources can be great for businesses, especially those smaller enterprises and start-ups, we wouldn’t necessarily encourage business owners to rely on these alone.

“It’s true that for many businesses, the various issues and queries that arise in the early days of starting up a company, or as they begin to develop the business, will be unique to them and not always straight-forward or easily resolved. In these cases, we would certainly propose that business owners seek professional advice from specialists such as ourselves and, if they wish, supplement this with online tools and information provided by official bodies such as HMRC.”

Here at George Hay, we always make time for our clients and work with them throughout the whole year, not just at year end. We are always available at the end of the phone and we keep you informed when it comes to tax saving opportunities and changes to legislation. Having a client base that is made up largely of small businesses, we understand the issues that these business owners face on a day-to-day basis and our friendly team of experts will support you and take the strain wherever they can so that you can focus on the things that matter.

To find out more about how we can help, click here.


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