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Danny McCance 21 Sep 2017 10:25am

HMRC launches new service for mid-size businesses

The Revenue has launched the Growth Support Service to provide tax support for the UK’s 170,000 mid-size businesses

The service is for those with more than £10m turnover and 20 or more employees.

“Mid-sized businesses make vital contribution to the UK economy and I want to see them grow, succeed and prosper,” said Mel Stride, financial secretary to the Treasury.

“The Growth Support Service will help these expanding businesses access tailored tax assistance so that tax administration doesn’t stand in the way of their growth and ensures businesses can focus on finding new opportunities.”

Eligible business will be able to apply to the service, and be contacted by a growth specialist to discuss requirements.

It will also help with tax queries about growth; provide information co-ordinate technical expertise from across HMRC and provide help on getting tax right first time and access relevant incentives or reliefs.

It will, according to the HMRC, last between three and six months.

Reaction

“There may be an element for there not being complete trust, but despite that, I think that if it’s run properly and the HMRC puts sufficient resources into it then it’s got to be good news,” said Stephen Herring, head of taxation at the Institute of Directors (IoD).

“The largest 2,100 business have a customer relationship manager (CRM) assigned to them - The ceiling has been with mid-market companies that they don’t have scope to pre-clear things and sort them out quickly.

“HMRC are trying to address this very understandable demand from mid-size businesses for a better service that mimics that given by HMRC’s Large Business office to the top businesses. So that’s a good thing,” Herring added.

“Mid-sized businesses are overlooked and under-valued. They are the economic engine of the UK, growing faster in terms of revenues and employment than small and large businesses combined,” said Paul Falvey, tax partner at BDO.

“The UK has one of most complex tax systems in the world. Navigating that system is costly and time consuming for mid-sized businesses, inhibiting their growth in both domestic and international markets.

“HMRC’s Growth Support Service is a great step in the right direction. It will help fast-growth firms manage their liabilities, access relevant reliefs and incentives, and give them confidence in getting their tax right first time,” he added.

“Middle market businesses have not been well served by HMRC in the past,” said George Bull, senior tax partner at RSM.

“Indeed, previous research from HMRC found that mid-sized businesses were less likely to be positive about their interaction with the taxman than other business customers.

"Whereas the largest businesses have had dedicated account managers to oversee communications and resolve problems, mid-sized businesses with complex tax affairs have not had the same level of support.

“HMRC’s Growth Support Service is therefore a positive step in the right direction.

“It will help, for example, a growing business which is exporting for the first time to deal with the resulting tax complexities – something that could be very useful as more companies explore new markets post-Brexit.

“However, it would be preferable for this level of bespoke support to be available to mid-market firms at any stage in their life cycle,” he added.

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