Making Tax Digital

Beginning in April 2018, the Government is changing the way income is reported for all taxpayers by switching the frequency of reporting from annual to quarterly. Two years later, by April 2020, this new ruling will be extended to include limited companies.

This puts an end to the filing of self-assessment tax returns for those able to report on income quarterly directly from their accounting software; HMRC will likely legislate bookkeeping records being kept digitally using software package as part of the Making Tax Digital strategy.

The Four Foundations of Making Tax Digital

HMRC has laid out four key 'foundations' to the Making Tax Digital project.

Tax Simplified

HMRC wants to get rid of any unnecessary processes when it's collecting tax information from its sources. Taxpayers would no longer have to provide information which HMRC can obtain from employers, banks, building societies, other Government departments and so on. By doing this, processes should speed up and become more efficient.

Tax In One Place

The Making Tax Digital project is all about making tax as efficient and modern as possible. At present, most taxpayers can't see a single summary of their liabilities and entitlements in one place, so by 2020, taxpayers will be able to see their complete financial picture in one place - just like internet banking.

Making Tax Digital for Individual Taxpayers

Individual taxpayers will be able to interact with HMRC digitally at a time that suits them. From April 2016, every small business in the UK has access to a digital tax account, this presents them with an individual personalised picture of their tax affairs. Additionally, there are prompts, advice and support through webchat and secure messaging from within each digital tax account.

Making Tax Digital for Businesses

The Government believes that businesses should no longer have to wait until the end of the tax year before knowing how much tax they're due to pay. The idea is that steming from Making Tax Digital, HMRC will collect information 'as close to real time as possible' to stop any potential build-up of information, and streamline processes. From April 2018, businesses, including everyone who is self-employed and those letting out property, will update HMRC at least quarterly where it is their main source of income (or a secondary source of income above £10,000 and their main income is from employment or a pension).

The End of the Tax Return

As part of Making Tax Digital, the changes outlined will bring about the end of the tax return for millions of taxpayers in the UK:

  • Most businesses will keep their records using digital tools and send that information at least quarterly direct to HMRC
  • Taxpayers with information to submit will do so through their own digital tax account
  • A new system of online billing will collect outstanding tax which can’t be collected through PAYE with no need for self assessment tax returns
  • Those who currently choose to complete tax returns simply to check their tax is in order will find all the information they need in their digital account.

Taxpayers will still be responsible for ensuring that their tax bills are right and telling HMRC about information that is not reported through other means, but digital accounts will make this much easier, quicker and simpler. There were over 10.2 million tax returns recieved by HMRC during 2015-16, and Making Tax Digital intends for this to drop to as close to zero as possible.

How Can We Help?

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