Way back in 1789 Benjamin Franklin wrote that "in this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes".
That was undoubtedly true then and it remains so today.
We all have to pay tax and we all complain about it. Sometimes it isn't that we object to the tax but just to the level of tax that we are expected to pay.
Businesses spend so much time working on taxes and their payment on behalf both of themselves and their employees, that you would expect them to greet a chance to pay less tax with cries of joy, find out how this glorious opportunity works and claim immediately.
Apparently, this has not happened with the chance to pay less business rates.
Business rates are, as I have said before, a Government tax on business. The level of tax is set by the Government but claimed and collected by your local council and then paid directly and in full to the Treasury.
In time they redistribute this money to local councils using a strange and wonderful formula that ensures that everyone feels cheated.
However, small businesses can apply for rate relief on their properties and many have done so.
What worries me is the research that has been done in the North East which shows that thousands of small businesses there haven't made their claim. Is this happening in the West Midlands as well?
If you don't claim your money the Treasury will benefit because they have increased the rates on large companies to finance this scheme.
The Government can't lose in this situation. They can point out that they are small business friendly while sitting on the money that you haven't claimed.
If you haven't started yet, talk to the business rates officer at your local council and get moving. I have to quote Mr Franklin again; he also said in Advice to Young Tradesman in 1748: " Remember that time is money." Mr Franklin - a man who would be a good guide and mentor today I feel.
Incidentally, while researching for this piece I was reminded that two old friends have been united.
HM Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue have been bought together as HM Revenue and Customs.
We are assured that this is going to make life easier for business, I do hope so.
I remember my misspent youth when I toiled for many hours composing letters to the two different departments and banging out those letters on a wonderful new invention, the electric typewriter.
I must be getting very old; I only wish I were as wise as Benjamin Franklin.