Shaper accountants

Cloud accounting and Xero experts

Call 01603 516304 or get in touch here

Insight and intelligence from Shaper Accountants

discover a new approach to accounting

  Book a consultation 

Making Tax Digital – First phase introduced in April 2019.

Making Tax Digital for Norfolk

HMRC has announced its plans to “Make Tax Digital”, and the first phase of the process will be introduced in April 2019

What does ‘Making Tax Digital’ mean?

Tax returns, including VAT returns are currently completed and filed online, and this project is hailed as the next step to make UK individual and business tax even more digital, and automated. HMRC will require businesses to use functional compatible software, such as cloud accounting software like Xero, Sage and QuickBooks to report income and expenses in as near real-time, as possible.

As at May 2018 HMRC confirms that small businesses can use spreadsheets to record tax information, but you will need bridging software to upload it and be linked digitally to HMRC.

VAT filing from April 2019

The first tax to be using the MTD process will be VAT, with companies, sole traders, partnerships etc. that meet the VAT threshold of £85,000 being required to submit their VAT returns digitally from April 2019. There will be a “soft landing” period of 12 months where no financial penalties will be issued as we all get used to complying with the changes.

Only accounting and bookkeeping software that is HMRC approved and on their list should be used and all the big names are expected to modify their software to comply with HMRC IT requirements.

Under the new digital tax regime businesses will be required to keep a digital record of all their sales broken down by the VAT liability they attract (zero-rated, standard-rated etc.). They will also have to break down the purchases they make by VAT and retain information about the adjustments made for reverse charges on imported services, car leasing and business entertainment.

There is currently no mandatory requirement to use bookkeeping scanning software but this may change in future. Most good cloud accounting systems have this functionality and when it comes to VAT returns having a scan of invoices to hand is a positive for business efficiency.

MTD for Business

Potential Impact of MTD for Business

  • Software – If you don’t use functional compatible software you may choose to change from spreadsheets Xero, Sage Cloud or QBO and pay the monthly subscription for these.
  • More efficient businesses – It is expected that productivity will improve as all kinds of business owners make the move to online, digital accounting software with live bank feeds.

Are you ready for Making Tax Digital?

At Shaper Accountants we are helping businesses get ready for the new tax reporting requirements so if you have questions or need help please get in touch.

You can find out more information here.




Making Tax Digital


HMRC is underway with its strategy to digitize the taxation process and in 2016 there will be millions of people with digital tax accounts.

If you’re not ready yet, you will need to be soon as the planned roll out date is April 2018, with full transformation being achieved by 2020.

HMRC plans to transform the tax system, so that it is more effective, more efficient and easier for taxpayers.

Who does Making Tax Digital Apply to?

At this stage MTD only applies to sole traders and partnerships. HMRC are developing the technology details and your accountant or bookkeeper will get regular updates from HMRC. Limited companies and Directors are expected to be covered in a consultation document later in 2016.

HMRC are proposing that MTD only applies after you reach a total turnover or income of £10,000 per annum. So far, the thinking is that businesses under this threshold would have an extra year to comply with the rules.


What does Making Tax Digital mean for me?

First, the HMRC myth buster – telling you all the things that are not true about the tax system transformation.

HMRC have produced their own helpful myth buster. The main one being that you will not be required to file 4 tax returns a year. Instead you will be required to send data about income and expenditure on a quarterly basis. Expenditure is expected to be broken down into certain categories.

How do I send the data to HMRC?

You’ll send the data from your online (cloud) accounting software. If you are using a manual, paper based system you will have to move to cloud accounting software. This is likely to be Xero or QuickBooks Online, or possibly FreeAgent for contractors. HMRC has confirmed they will not be providing their own free software and digital software that having software that links to your HMRC tax account will be mandatory. No more boxes of papers that are more than a year old.

You can see that Receipt Bank bookkeeping software will be a solution for many, and the accounting software will be compulsory for all (with a few tiny exceptions, not covered here).

Each business will have (probably 9 months) after the year end to submit final figures – an End of Year declaration.


What else do I need to hear about MTD?

You will have the option to report more frequently than quarterly, which will be helpful for seasonal businesses.

HMRC is not currently planning to change tax payment dates.

The cash accounting basis limit may be extended. If that means nothing to you, ask your accountant who can explain this to you.

The details are still in consultation stage, and the end date for comments is 7 November 2016. We encourage anyone interested to read and feed in their comments.

Cloud Bookkeeping Norwich

3 Things you can do to get ready for Making Tax Digital

  1. It makes sense to move to accounting software. Cloud-based software gives you the opportunity to work from anywhere you can get an internet connection.
  2. Consider some of the expenses capturing apps – snap your bills and receipts and send direct, or export and upload to your accounts.
  3. Find an accountant to help you. The right accountant will become a trusted colleague. Since tax is going digital, make sure you choose a tech savvy, experienced accountant.

Want to know more?

Contact a cloud accountant or bookkeeper to get advice on how to get ready for Making Tax Digital.

app 3 devices horizontal