FT letter from trade body heads
Three leading trade body heads joined forces in a letter to the Financial Times on Monday. The letter heralded a week of positive developments for arts and antiques businesses classed as SMEs in the face of government-proposed tax reforms.

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Proposed reforms require all businesses to file accounts digitally five times a year regardless of size or recourses. Marco Forgione of the British Antique Dealers Association (BADA), Christopher Battiscombe of The Society of London Art Dealers (SLAD) and Rebecca Davies of LAPADA, The Association of Art & Antiques Dealers were the signatories on the letter opposing these measures.

“The British art and antique market is the second largest in the world with a turnover of £9bn, supporting more than 40,000 jobs, the majority of which are small businesses, often sold traders,” the letter said. “These proposals will needlessly increase business costs and saddle SMEs with unnecessary red tape.”

HMRC consultation

It was subsequently announced that Forgione had been invited to join the HMRC consultative forum, the SME Digital Services Group (SDSG) to represent trade associations including The British Art Market Federation (BAMF). The SDSG is a platform for affected bodies to respond to the implication of moving businesses online and using HMRC’s online services.

“It is of paramount importance that BADA, BAMF, SLAD and LAPADA are represented at the forefront of HMRC’s consultation process and that our members are well informed of the impact that changes in procedure will have on their businesses,” Forgione said.

He added: “I am delighted and honoured to accept the invitation to join the SDSG on behalf of my fellow trade organisation, and I look forward to ensuring that the British art and antique trade plays an active and influential role in the shaping of digital tax reform.”