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It is not viable to force all companies with a turnover of £100,000 a year to file their tax returns online, according to the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

Criticising the new HM Revenue & Customs rule, CLA President William Worsley claimed it is "unworkable" given that many rural companies do still not have access to the internet.

He said that while the government is keen to force people to process important documents online, ministers are yet to agree to a partnership with internet service providers to provide a connection to every firm in the UK.

"This is yet another example of rural businesses being disadvantaged," Mr Worsley stated.

"Until the needed investment the CLA has been calling for happens, it is absurd to roll out mandatory online form-filling."

Last month, Peter McCarthy-Ward, East of England Director for BT, told EDP24 that Norfolk is unlikely to receive the desired minimum of 2Mb broadband access by 2012.

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