RJMS Health Care Accountants

HMRC Making Tax Digital Delayed
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Sep 29, 2017

Yes you heard it, HMRC’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) is being delayed until April 2020 and April 2019 for VAT charging businesses over the VAT threshold. And we have partly to thank Theresa May’s general election call which caused the MTD clauses to be removed from the finance bill to ensure it being passed before parliament dissolved. In their manifesto, the Labour Party proposed exempting all businesses with annual sales under £85,000 from MTD. This has now happened under the Conservative minority government.

Another reason for the delay has been the painfully slow progress by HMRC to build the digital infrastructure. It appears that a major own goal has been scored in this department as reported by specialist accountants working in the sector. Apparently significant numbers of freelance computer programmers have stopped working for the HMRC after the public sector IR35 rules were introduced in April.

The previous looming deadline raised significant issues sending many accounting firms into a frenzy to move their clients to digital. A positive may be drawn from the delay as clients see the value of going digital with such accounting software as Quickbooks. The delay will now allow a more gradual implementation before the inevitable digital reporting for businesses with sales over £85,000.

So it may still seem reasonable to apply MTD to VAT chargeable businesses over the VAT threshold who already report quarterly, but there still really isn’t a firm date for implementing the MTD for VAT exempt businesses, the HMRC say April 2020 at the very earliest but by their past performance, who knows?

You can always jump the accounting gun by voluntarily filing digitally if you wish!

Under the revised timetable:

  • Only businesses with annual sales above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) will have to keep digital records.
  • VAT chargeable businesses will only need to send MTD VAT returns digitally as from their first quarter starting after April 2019.
  • Businesses that are exempt from VAT (e.g Healthcare) but who’s annual sales are over £85,000 will not be asked to keep digital records or to update HMRC quarterly for income tax or corporation tax purposes until at least April 2020
  • This is the biggest change in UK taxation for 23 years, when self-assessment for income tax was brought in.

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