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By Peter E Firth

Tax experts and small business owners compile a pre-Budget wish- list.

"I would like to see corporation tax directly related to real profits, without all the current system's adjustments. In fact, why not charge corporation tax simply on the profit shown in the statutory accounts? I'd like to see National Insurance abolished. It's a tax on employment that encourages companies to avoid employing people. The Chancellor could compensate for the loss of NI by increasing corporation and income tax."

Paul Cadde, CEO, Grosvenor House Group

"Gordon Brown's key challenge is to prevent slowdown becoming recession. I would much rather have the Chancellor focus on this than on micro measures.

But I would like to see a lower tax rate for early-stage businesses, which need to reinvest profit in growth, as well as the abolition of stamp duty on share transactions, which might stimulate the equity markets and boost pension funds."

Nigel Barratt, CEO, Cohesion Capital

"Gordon Brown should increase the small companies' tax rate threshold to L600,000. This would mean a company making L600,000 a year would save around L100,000, allowing it to invest more money in the business. Currently, technology spend is tax deductible. This measure should be extended to other classes of capital expenditure."

Fred Edwards, Chief Executive of Virtualfd

"Make no increases in business tax of any kind this year, in order to steer the UK economy back to recovery and resuscitate business confidence.

Widen out the R&D qualifying criteria, which would encourage innovation. And review opportunities for tax relief on the cost of raising equity finance to boost investment in the UK, by providing businesses with a long-term cashflow solution. If he's feeling brave, the Chancellor should reward business by reversing the decision to increase employers' NICs in April 2003. A grand gesture is needed to give business and the economy the boost it requires."

Adam Frail, tax partner, BDO Stoy Hayward

"Businesses want to see low rates of tax, with all genuine business expenditure deductible for tax purposes and taxable and commercial profits moving closer together. The government is already laying the groundwork for exceptions that will frustrate the simplicity, certainty and clarity that the latest proposals aim to achieve. Let's hope the pre-Budget statement delivers actions and not just words, and proves me-and all the other sceptics-wrong."

Sheena Sullivan, PKF tax partner

"Traffic congestion costs British businesses L18bn each year. If the government is serious about reducing congestion by five per cent by 2010, it must also offer travellers an alternative to road travel and improve our public transport network. Congestion charging is not the answer. Business drivers need to see a reduction in road tax and fuel prices or businesses will really struggle."

Vincent Geake, CEO, Yeoman Group

It's pie in the sky, but we would really like to see is the total abolition of value added tax. Now and for ever. Amen.

Revenue aside, if there's one thing more than any other that's caused us corporate grief in over 20 years of running a business it's the unspeakable VAT return. Having to work it out ourselves adds insult to injury. Then there's the question of what it covers and what it doesn't, and the inequality of it all.

Article courtesy of YellowBrix, Inc.

About the author: Peter E Firth, is the founder of Peko publishing.

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