Research from the Forum of Private Business (FPB) revealed that the majority of small businesses think the changes to legislation enacted by the present government during the first half of its term have been negative. This is particularly the case around issues such as fairness, simplicity, efficiency, stability and certainty within the tax system.
More than a quarter (28 per cent) said fairness had depreciated, while only 17 per cent said there had been improvements. Another quarter said the system has become more complex, compared to 14 per cent who said it was simpler. With regard to efficiency, 26 per cent said it had declined while only ten per cent said it had improved.
The single biggest complaint made by small businesses was that business rates were too high, with the vast majority (94 per cent) saying commercial property taxes were too much. A further two-thirds say they see no value in the amount they spend on tax, finding no real benefits to speak of.
"It's probably fair to say that business rates are the most despised of all commercial taxes by today's small business owner in the UK," said the FPB chief executive Phil Orford.
"It's a crippling tax that business owners simply have no choice but to pay, and for many who claim to see no discernible benefit to having paid up."
He added that businesses know they have to pay their way, but many believe their taxes are not being spent sensibly or for their own personal advantage.
"This research shows George Osborne really has to consider – and seriously – making a credible concession to small business in the Budget on this moot point. Businesses are clearly unhappy about the spiralling costs of non-domestic rates (NDR), and we think the tipping point is about to arrive, if it hasn't already," Mr Orford continued.