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Tax breaks needed to encourage small business exporters, says Forum

National small business organisation the Forum of Private Business is using the start of National Export Week (10–14 November) to call on the Chancellor to consider introducing tax breaks as an incentive to encourage more small businesses to consider growing their businesses in overseas markets. 

The proposals, included in the Forum’s Autumn Statement submission, call on George Osborne to consider introducing a scheme similar to the existing Research and Development relief for Corporation Tax.

The proposals would see the introduction of relief for export activity, by looking to reduce an eligible entrepreneur’s tax bill or providing export activity tax credits by way of a cash sum paid by the taxman. The bigger the entrepreneur’s proportion of overseas trade sales, the higher their tax credits would be. This the Forum believes would provide a welcome incentive to small firms and would go some way to helping the government in achieve its target of doubling UK exports by 2020.

Commenting on the proposals Phil Orford MBE, Chief Executive of the Forum of Private Business, said:

“Meeting the government target of £1 trillion by 2020 will be no mean feat. What has become all too clear is that we will not achieve this by shipping out ever more Jaguars and JCBs!

“The answer lies in encouraging our wealth of small business talent to look to foreign shores. However most small firms we talk to still see their growth coming from the UK, and there’s still a limited appetite and few incentives to move into exports.

“The research and development relief has proved both popular and effective, and a similar relief for export activity could be the carrot to encourage small business owners to consider overseas trade.”

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