The UK government has long desired to move businesses to a fully digital platform linked to HMRC
The UK government has long desired to move businesses to a fully digital platform linked to HMRC. They cite advantages for taxpayers over collecting transaction data in one system and then submitting it separately to HMRC. There is also, of course, the advantage to HMRC that it gets access to a lot more data to analyse !
There was an aborted attempt last year to bring forward a wide-ranging programme requiring many business types to effectively upload their accounting transactions electronically to HMRC to support their tax returns. This MTD for business (MTDfb) initiative has been delayed in part until 2020 but a more limited scheme MTDforVAT will be introduced starting April 2019.
Initially all VAT registered businesses with turnover in excess of £85,000 per annum will be required to take part. The underlying doctrine is that any such business must keep it’s records digitally and those digital records are used to prepare and submit the VAT return.
In essence, accounting software must be used. Some software companies are proposing ‘bridging’ products which will link Excel spreadsheet records to HMRC’s portal but at the present time they are limited and we cannot be sure how compliant they will be in the long term.
So our current advice to any clients who are VAT registered and have turnover above the £85,000 threshold is to switch to a compliant accounting software product before April 2019. We would also suggest an online system rather than a traditional desktop program.
We are happy to discuss the way forward with clients even if we do not currently process your VAT return. We have a lot of experience with appropriate software and can advise. Please contact Gerry Sims who will be pleased to help you.