Budget 2002: Small firms get e-business cash boost

The government plans to give direct cash help to small firms who file tax returns and other financial obligations online

The chancellor, Gordon Brown, has promised financial assistance to help small firms embrace e-business.

As part of Wednesday's budget, Brown said that cash help will be offered to small firms who carry out their finances, such as their tax returns, online. The chancellor said firms will get a total of £40m in the first year and £110m in subsequent years to help with the costs of moving their trading systems onto the Web.

The Inland Revenue recently put its Pay As You Earn and Corporation Tax services online, and is understood to have processed several million forms since last April. Despite this popularity, there is concern that many businesses, especially small firms, are not geared up to the potential of the Internet.

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