16% of SMEs do not know how to obtain tax advice

10% of SME owners admit to missing tax deadlines and making late VAT payments and nearly 20% have lost out on tax breaks and grants, according to a survey by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks. 16% of the respondents said they were not sure how to get advice on regulation and 15% struggle to understand new rules.

Gary Lumby, the banks’ small business banking director, said every penny counts for small firms and falling foul of bureaucracy can make the difference between success and failure. In extreme cases, a lack of understanding could lead to a business closing. He went on to say that it was worrying that so many companies do not know how to obtain advice and Clydesdale and Yorkshire aims to put that right.

Meanwhile, CCH has just launched a new scanner that will take the pain out of keying in large amounts of tax data.

The IT provider, who supplies corporate and personal tax accounting software to accountancy firms, says the new scanning equipment will reduce the amount of time accountants spend keying in the personal tax information they receive from their clients in paper format.

Accountants will be able to scan documents, upload them to a database and assign them automatically to the correct client. The software is already being used successfully by several US accountancy firms.

The UK software product manager at CCH, Wendy Rowe, said the product called CCH Auto is the result of many years of R&D and marks an unprecedented improvement towards making tax compliance more efficient.

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