Changing times - digital tax changes could harm small rural firms, Diss Business Forum chairman Brian Bale warns

PUBLISHED: 11:36 18 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:37 18 March 2017

Brian Bale of Lovewell Blake. Picture: LOVEWELL BLAKE

Brian Bale of Lovewell Blake. Picture: LOVEWELL BLAKE


Small rural firms who still keep old-fashioned paper records could struggle to adapt to government changes to make the tax system digital, it has been warned.

Although most companies and self-employed workers submit tax returns online, some still take the option of filing their documents with a pen and paper by hand.

But chancellor Philip Hammond has moved to stop that and make digital tax reporting compulsory under the new Making Tax Digital scheme.

Businesses still relying on paper methods have until April 2019 to change their systems before the new HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) scheme comes in.

But Brian Bale, a Halesworth-based partner at Lovewell Blake chartered accountants who is also chairman of Diss Business Forum, said: “We’ve a lot of clients who are not interested in it.

“We’re in a rural area with a poor broadband service where you aren’t always able to fill things in online.

“I think this is going to be a huge issue for rural businesses.”

In a presentation about the 2017 Budget to Diss Business Forum, Mr Bale said the regular schedule of Autumn Statements and Budgets “does give you some certainty as to what’s going on”.

However he fears that those guilty of tax avoidance might get away with it in the future, because: “Along with many government departments, they don’t seem to have the resource to carry out inspections.”

The rise in business rates also caused a lot of debate in the run-up to the Budget.

But Mr Bale said the one-off £1,000 one-off business rate discount for 90pc of pubs in 2017 “is not going to make a huge difference” to their financial situation.

Mr Bale, from Dickleburgh, was unanimously elected to lead Diss Business Forum at its annual general meeting at The Park Hotel, Diss earlier this year.
He succeeded Kerry Kirby, from Diss-based Splice Creative, after her two years in the role.

“I am really looking forward to continuing the excellent work of the forum over recent years in providing informative events along with friendly networking opportunities,” said Mr Kirby, who is also treasurer at Diss Rugby Club and has previously been chairman of Halesworth Business Connections.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Diss Mercury visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Diss Mercury staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Diss Mercury account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other news

Yesterday, 18:40

Rail passengers travelling to and from Norwich can expect delays this evening due to problems with overhead wires.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A motorist who performed a U-turn and then rammed head-on into another car on the A140 will face no further action after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) reviewed the case.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A host of weird and wonderful items can be found at the TW Gaze auction rooms and sale meadow at Diss. Here are just a few picks from the sale meadow.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Phone lines at Norfolk County Council have been restored following a fire and suspected power surge.

Most Read

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The sweeping parkland once played host to one of south Norfolk's finest country houses.

But now a stunning 21st-century country home is being built on the site of the former Boyland Hall which was demolished in 1946 after falling into decline.

Read more
Saturday, April 29, 2017

A motorist who performed a U-turn and then rammed head-on into another car on the A140 will face no further action after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) reviewed the case.

Read more
Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Emergency services were called out to the scene of a crash on the A140 this morning.

Read more
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A car came off the road and crashed into a house in a Suffolk village today.

Read more
Friday, September 23, 2016

A talented medical student found on a patch of land near Old Buckenham in March died when hypothermia set in after taking a lethal mixture of drugs, an inquest has heard.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 7°C


Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Diss Mercury e-edition today E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter