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HMRC report criticised for patronising entrepreneurs


A report from HMRC suggests that many issues small business owners face when dealing with the tax office are because the entrepreneurs lacked computer skills and did not manage their time adequately. The report, Research with small businesses to explore their perceptions of the tax burden, suggests that fears over tax deadlines and demands from HMRC made small business owners “develop highly inefficient processes which took up unnecessary amounts of time”. HMRC said the report was designed to help to make things less stressful for small business owners, adding that it intended to change its practices to “make improvements in our guidance, business support and digital services”. The Times’ David Byers notes that the language used in the report has upset small businesses, highlighting a section that says problems dealing with the service were “driven primarily by emotional rather than practical considerations”. Tim Stovold from Moore Kingston Smith said: “Describing frustration with HMRC as an emotional response rather than an understandable reaction based on the reality of dealing with the tax office seems an extraordinarily patronising view.”

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