Small traders get their own forum for tax talk

The “vital role” that the likes of self-employed freelancers play in the economy has returned them a Small Business Online Forum.

Launched by HM Revenue & Customs, the forum is billed as a “quick and easy way for small businesses and the self-employed to get answers to their tax questions”.

But the 1,300-plus registered users aren’t just talking tax -- they can also get help on starting a business, expanding a business, selling services abroad or buying goods from overseas.

For these queries, and for potentially others like tax credits, HMRC has a dedicated webchat service bolted on to the forum which -- at the time of writing, has 13-sub forums.

Although none are dedicated to freelancing or tax when working as a freelancer, the forums dealing with expenses, legal structure and record-keeping seem best-suited to the self-employed.

“The UK’s 5.4 million small businesses play a vital role in our economy,” said Mel Stride, financial secretary to the Treasury, cutting the ribbon on the forum. “We want to help businesses get off the ground and support them”.

Moderated by HMRC staff but unable to openly host queries about users’ personal tax matters, the forum is part of the government’s business tax roadmap unveiled at Budget 2016.

The Revenue warns that any personal or case-specific details will be deleted if posted, but its forum advisers “will endeavour to support” the users during working hours.


13th August 2017

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