The demise of the HMRC growth support service to help mid-sized businesses?
When HMRC launched it's new growth support service back in October 2017 it was with the intention of helping the 170,000 mid-sized businesses in the UK. In HMRC terminology a mid-sized business is one that is defined as having a turnover of over £10 million and more than 20 employers.
The background to this initiative is that HMRC had been undertaking research studies to better understand the needs and challenges of mid-sized businesses when it came to tax matters. In response to the findings HMRC established a mid-sized business team in 2014 to provide a tailored service to help this section of the UK business economy, a service that was launched in October 2017. The aims of the mid-sized business team were to:
- help taxpayers locate the right tax guidance
- support growing businesses
- efficiently promote and administer tax incentives and reliefs
- improve compliance and tackle tax evasion.
In outline, the process is intended to work like this: A mid-sized businesses is able to submit an online request for a dedicated HMRC tax specialist who will work with the business or its tax agents during periods of growth. HMRC defines periods of growth as including a range of key transactions or business changes, such as a significant increase in turnover, listing on a stock market, mergers and acquisitions, or making a Senior Accounting Officer report for the first time, among others.
The rather shocking news, revealed after a freedom of information request, is that only 14 applications have been received since the service launched. This lack of interest has, of course, called into question the government's ability to support fast-growing private, mid-sized companies.
One of the flaws of the government scheme is likely to be that the HMRC specialists are not able to provide tax planning or general business advice, nor guidance on how the business will grow….which does prompt the question what exactly will they be doing other than obtaining information about your business? This is almost certainly why businesses are using services by accountancy practices such as Charterhouse who can provide a comprehensive service that will look at a greater range of business considerations.
Charterhouse is a provider of accountancy services and tax solutions with its UK office based in Harrow and clients in Watford, Wembley, Beaconsfield, the Home Counties and the rest of the UK. At Charterhouse we believe in transforming problems into solutions, creating the freedom for our clients to aim higher!