MTD pilot moves forward
HMRC have recently extended their Making Tax Digital (MTD) income tax pilot to accept quarterly updates from individual landlords with simple tax affairs. Agents can also sign up clients to the MTD for income tax pilot.
The latest extension means that certain taxpayers will be able to opt out of the current self-assessment regime and use software to report their income tax if at least one of the following applies:
- The taxpayer is a sole trader with income from one business; or
- They rent out only UK property but not as furnished holiday lettings.
Those who do not qualify must continue to report their income to HMRC via a self-assessment return in the usual way.
Taxpayers who do not already have software to keep accounting records have a number of options to choose from. Fundamentally, the software must be able to link automatically to HMRC to send across updated information every three months. During the course of the year, the taxpayer will be able to view an estimate of the tax they might owe at the end of their accounting year, based on the information they have been providing digitally.
A final report will be submitted to confirm income and expenses at the end of the accounting year. If the taxpayer needs to claim allowances and reliefs, he or she can do this within that final report. The taxpayer will then be able to see a full tax calculation for the year.
Of course, in order to join the pilot, the taxpayer must be able to keep digital records of their business transactions, and commit to sending income tax updates to HMRC at least on a quarterly basis using MTD-compliant software. The general opinion around the tax and accountancy profession appears to be that whilst this is another step in the right direction, the number of software developers with income tax MTD-compliant software remains low. MTD for VAT is currently expected to commence from 1 April 2019 for VAT registered organisations with an annual turnover in excess of £85,000 a year.
No date has yet been set for when the MTD scheme may be formerly introduced on a mandatory basis for income tax purposes, but it will not be before 2020, and probably later than that due to HMRC’s current focus on Brexit preparations.