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.

Other news

Yesterday, 19:57

A busy hospital is to revamp part its emergency department to the tune of nearly £1m amid increased pressures on its services.

Yesterday, 10:11

He loves a bit of fuss and attention – and now Reg wants to show someone his cuddly side in his quest for permanent new home.

Yesterday, 08:59

Snow could be on its way to Norfolk on Sunday as the temperatures plummet to below freezing overnight.

Yesterday, 08:19

Huge fines will be imposed on irresponsible company bosses who “line their own pockets”, the prime minister has said.

Most Read

Yesterday, 19:57

A busy hospital is to revamp part its emergency department to the tune of nearly £1m amid increased pressures on its services.

Read more
Saturday, January 20, 2018

Popstar Ed Sheeran has announced his engagement to his long-term girlfriend.

Read more
Friday, January 19, 2018

The trial of a former soldier accused of murdering a dog walker in Norfolk woodlands has been delayed by a week and moved to a court 120 miles away.

Read more
Friday, January 19, 2018

A toddler has been rushed to hospital after a serious crash.

Read more
Saturday, January 20, 2018

Lanes on a busy roundabout will be closed overnight for three nights so that workmen can inspect drains on the road.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 5°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Diss Mercury e-edition today

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter