At least one observer was happy to hear no mention of the government’s Make Tax Digital plan in the Autumn Statement. Tina Riches, national tax partner at the accountancy, investment management and tax group Smith & Williamson, said “It was a relief to hear no mention of the proposed making tax digital (MTD) initiative in the Chancellor’s speech. This will still leave time to prevent the slow motion train crash that will be MTD on the present schedule. Let’s hope that time is being taken, and wisely.”
Riches’ comments come in the week that Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced changes to the VAT flat relief scheme as well as a further £400m to be channeled through the British Business Bank for SME funding.
“HMRC is currently considering the lengthy responses to the recent consultations on MTD,” Richaes continued. “A number of these stressed that the timetable set out by HMRC is just not workable. Taxpayers and their advisers will require a much longer period to prepare for MTD, and we have recommended a delay in mandation. Taking more time to consider the responses should result in a better outcome.”
MTD, due to start from 2018 with a pilot before then, will mean a fundamental change to how most business, the self-employed and landlord’s carry out their day to day business and record their accounting and tax records. It will require quarterly financial online updates to HMRC, as opposed to the annual reporting process currently in place.