Making Tax Digital is not all doom and gloom

Making Tax Digital is not all doom and gloom


Viewpoint: Making Tax Digital is not all doom and gloom – Accountancy Age

It might be heretical, but I genuinely believe Making Tax Digital (MTD) is not all doom and gloom. I know that one should not ignore that those required to on-board will face a range of difficulties, but I feel that their interests have been well served by a myriad of previously published doom-laden articles. For this viewpoint, I want to focus on the growing cohort of businesses and their agents who already work in the digital world. I believe there is another side of the story that should not be overlooked. Ever since Mel Stride announced in his July 17 written statement “We [the government] have listened very carefully…” and promptly demonstrated that his government had by announcing a major revision to the MTD roll-out timetable, I believe that common sense has prevailed. Sweeping mandation away for all but the VAT registered means that there is now more than an even chance the new target can be hit. Especially as VAT mandation will not come in before return periods starting on, or after, 1 April 2019. Then only for those who are VAT-registered with turnover (net of VAT) of £85,000, and HMRC has promised a penalty soft-landing. Back in 2015 when George Osborne announced the death of the tax return, MTD was seen by many to be the biggest show in town to the point where it seemed that HMRC was driving the digital agenda. At that time, talk about digitally storing all business records in the cloud was just a step too far for many. However, the passage of time coupled with an exponential growth in cloud accounting software, the emergence of AI and talk of a fourth technological revolution have cast MTD in its true context. After all, MTD is nothing more than HMRC reading the emerging direction of travel for cloud-based computing and seeking to position the UK tax system in pole position to digitally engage with taxpaying businesses as the tsunami of technological change breaks over UK plc. Over the past 18 months there has been a groundswell in the number of firms ready or getting ready to work in a way that would be considered MTD-compliant. —



Oliver Benton

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