Since the beginning of this year, HMRC has declared war on the thousands of UK side-hustle businesses by demanding platforms like Airbnb, ebay and Vinted ‘fess up how much their users are coining in.
This is a war akin to shooting yourself in the foot.
This crackdown is not the result of a new law, but nevertheless it’s a backward step by a desperate government that’s more interested in squeezing cash from battling micro-businesses than growing them to benefit the economy in the future. As the law stands, we’re all allowed to make a grand in profit before the tax man (or woman) gets a cut, so no need to panic if you’ve offloaded a couple of McQueen originals. But if you’re trying to build a business, they might literally have your number.
Talk about scoring an own goal. There are thousands of budding entrepreneurs out there trying out their business ideas and all the Revenue can think of is taxing them to death before they get out of the starting blocks. I get that there’s a cost-of-living crisis, but not at HMRC. So why they’re hitting people harder in the pocket and snuffing out future successful businesses seems like scoring against your own team, on purpose. Surely the sensible approach would be to increase the limit to five grand to encourage people with good ideas to have a go!!??
The UK and the world have been through a tough few years. War with ISIS in Iraq; the sub-prime crisis; Covid; war in Ukraine, and now back to the Middle East with the Gaza emergency. So, isn’t it time to help home-grown startups get off the ground, rather than treat them as cash cows?
The idea that harassing and haranguing micro-businesses is a good and economically sensible thing to do makes zero sense. We need to nurture the next generation of companies, some of which will, if given the opportunity, become the commercial leaders of our economy in years to come.
HMRC needs to change its policy of identifying easy targets, ‘grow a pair’ and start harvesting the millions and billions of quid in tax that the multinational tax cheats keep for themselves every year.
We are a country of entrepreneurs, always have been, but if the government adopts a policy that smashes innovation before it gets a chance to fly, our future is bleak. Whatever political party you vote for at this coming election, I would urge you to think about backing policies that foster growth, and that isn’t taxing fledgling businesses.
Come on Rishi, or whoever the Tory leader will be when the booths open, let’s get back to the spirit of 1979, when the ‘Iron Lady’ firmly encouraged the taking of a chance on the future, not taxing to hell anyone who dared to have a go.