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Letter to the Chancellor

Gareth Smyth, Group Managing Director of Hilton Smythe calls for Chancellor to extend tax benefit to small businesses

Ahead of the upcoming Autumn Budget, Gareth Smythe of Hilton Smythe has written to the Chancellor, calling for Entrepreneur’s Relief to be extended to all small businesses.

The benefit, which is currently available to limited company owners when they sell their shares, is not available where the assets of the company are sold instead. Many company sales are completed as an asset sale, and so, many sellers are losing out on the relief. It is usually more advantageous, from a cost and risk perspective, particularly at the smaller end of the business sale landscape, to buy and sell the assets in a limited company instead of taking on the share capital.

Extend tax benefit to small businesses

The additional tax cost of an asset sale means that when the time comes for a business seller to retire or move on to their next opportunity, it may be a more affordable option to close, rather than to sell the business on, especially where a buyer cannot be sought for the shares.

Gareth said: “Hilton Smythe has worked with a lot of business owners across the UK who are looking to sell, and we see time and again that they are losing out because of capital gains tax and the limitations of Entrepreneurs Relief where limited companies are concerned. I have reached out to the Chancellor in the hope that he will consider the impact of allowing company owners who sell by way of asset sale to benefit from Entrepreneur’s Relief and asking for a similar relief to be extended to sellers of limited companies that sell the business assets and not their shares.

“We live in an aging population, and many business owners who are reaching retirement are facing the decision as to whether to sell or whether to shut up shop. To ensure the survival of the high street long term, it is imperative that we make it the easiest and more affordable option to sell to the next generation of entrepreneurs, rather than closing.

“I believe that if Entrepreneur’s Relief were to be extended to cover asset sales, this would encourage more of an appetite to buy and sell and would undoubtedly stimulate the economy.”

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