SMEs are calling for a more level playing field – and for global leaders to work out how to get the super-rich and big business to pay their fair share
As world leaders make their way to Hangzhou for the G20 Summit next week, there’s one topic Britain’s small businesses want to be placed at the top of there agenda: tax.
The small businesses Elite Business spoke to ahead of the summit have expressed a desire to see global leaders stand together to get tough on the tax dodgers around thew world.
Aidan Bell, director at EnviroBuild, the sustainable building company, wants governments to co-ordinate efforts to up the pressure on the super-wealthy and big business: “The G20 needs to work together to remove tax havens and tackle the issue of people transferring assets between domiciles to avoid tax. At the moment it feels like nation states are in a race to the bottom when it comes to taxation.”
Jason Kitcat, micro-business ambassador at Crunch, the accountancy company, agreed that tax is a key issue for small-scale startups in particular: “Micro-businesses want to see a level playing field in the global economy. At the moment corporate giant seem able to adopt strategies to minimise their tax liabilities, whilst such options simply aren’t open to those just starting out. Everyone should pay their fair share of tax and it should be simple for businesses to understand the tax systems they have to work to. The G20 need to work together to deliver fairness for business, no matter what size they are.”
Echoing that, Philip Elliot, marketing and e-commerce manager at We Sell Electrical, the electronic goods company, is also keen to see a more fair system: “Improved taxation efforts of conglomerate enterprises with augmented SME financing would allow global business markets to become a more level playing field. The benefit of that for us would be improved growth opportunities for smaller market contenders.”
Meanwhile, Mark Wilson, tax investigation solicitor and partner at Richard Nelson LLP, the law firm, believes a unified approach is needed: “We need debate and agreement on a unified approach to global corporations, as well as a greater consistency to tax planning and avoidance between different tax jurisdictions.”
Tax, of course, has been in the headlines quite a bit of late. Earlier this year, the Panama Papers leak exposed the scale of global tax evasion among the rich and famous who have been squirreling away money in offshore accounts. And Apple has been in the headlines after the European Commission's decision that the company owes Ireland €13bn (£11bn) in taxes – a ruling Apple CEO Tim Cook has called “total political crap”.
Given the year we’ve had, small businesses may just get their wish and have tax be placed on the front burner.