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At Burgis & Bullock, we have been making repeated calls for businesses to prepare for the implementation of Making Tax Digital for a long time.
During a period of widespread uncertainty due to Brexit, this major overhaul to the UK tax system has gone largely unnoticed, with new figures from the British Chamber of Commerce suggesting that one in five businesses above the VAT threshold still know little or nothing about Making Tax Digital.
Whether this is down to poor communication from the Government or a lack of urgency from businesses, the statistic is concerning on a number of levels.
We have been shouting from the rooftops that companies need to take the necessary steps to comply with Making Tax Digital for around 12 months.
This ranges from ensuring they are up to date with software requirements to checking the quality of financial data available to share with HMRC.
We have arranged numerous seminars and put together countless communications not just for our clients but the wider business community to try and spread this message but with so many other pressing concerns, it is understandable that it has somewhat fell by the wayside.
At present it looks as though that from April all VAT registered businesses, along with charities whose taxable turnover exceeds £85,000, will be required to submit all of their VAT returns directly through digital records, rather than inputting the information manually onto HMRC’s website.
The Chamber’s call for a delay is to be welcomed in particular due to the close proximity to Brexit.
For those that aren’t ready for Making Tax Digital’s introduction now, the weeks ahead are going to be very tough as they try keep up with the ever changing wheel of Brexit outcomes and cram in the work required to comply with Making Tax Digital.
A delay would give everyone some breathing space and providing that the message is made loud and clear that this is the last discretion that is going to be made, the message could sink in.
However, the Government must be careful that the implementation doesn’t continue to be delayed, mainly because Making Tax Digital is a positive step forward that is going to help businesses for years to come.
That is the message that needs to be spread but at the moment, it is drowned out by the overpowering and ongoing debate on Brexit’s impact for businesses.