As an accountant in practice I fully recognise that unlike Canute holding back the march of the digital agenda is a non-starter. I have supported HMRC’s move to a digital platform but I have always believed that mandated is not the correct way to engender support and genuine acquiescence. If HMRC made MTD as good as it could be then Accountants and Taxpayers alike would see for themselves the relative merits of the new digital processes and we would undoubtedly sign up happily and in large numbers. This may have taken a few years or not, we don’t know because HMRC decided to simply mandate the changes in a stupidly tight timeframe with the result that the timeframes had to be rapidly extended as part of a series of HMRC climbdowns on the whole MTD agenda.
So we now find ourselves at the pilot stage of the service, a service that is mandating all Vat registered businesses with turnovers in excess of the Vat threshold to file their Returns digitally from April 2019 so basically one year away and from 2020 Income Tax payers and Corporation Tax payers will start the full on quarterly reporting.
Is it only me that thinks with one year to go or 4 quarterly filings the pilot should feature more than 2 pieces of software? Is it only me that thinks where is the hocus pocus piece of software that apparently links spreadsheets to enable them to file a return? Is it only me that thinks what exactly is a compatible spreadsheet and how do I make mine become one?
Of course I’m not, these are questions that many are asking and you know what no one is actually answering, certainly not HMRC who are simply asking for more accountants and taxpayers to register for a pilot knowing full well that the huge bulk of us will not have the software to take part.
Do I want my practice and by default my clients to handle MTD as easily as we at present handle Vat Reporting and Tax Return filings? Of course I do and I want the changeover to be as simple and cost effective as possible so joining a pilot should be the way forward to my practice a “heads up” but do I want to join a pilot scheme that does not use my preferred software? Do I want to join a scheme that still does not address my client’s spreadsheet problems? Do I want to join a scheme that palpably demonstrates a lack of understanding how our practice and our clients work? Do I want to join a scheme that will cost untold man hours for no reward whatsoever? Do I want to join a pilot for a launch in less than a year when there are so many unanswered questions?
By Tony Margaritelli
This blog is taken from the ICPA website. Dedicated to supporting and promoting the needs of the general practitioner. You can find us at www.icpa.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 0800-074-2896.