Making Tax Digital for business is pressing ahead as planned with the mandatory service for VAT still expected from April 2019.
HMRC have announced that they “have made the decision to delay plans to introduce further digital services for individuals, to release project capability to EU Exit work”. Some details of the work HMRC have been doing to prioritise change were mentioned by Jon Thompson and Jim Harra at a Public Accounts Committee hearing on 30 April and this was then followed up by a communication to key stakeholders. This communication made it clear that the Making Tax Digital (MTD) for business proposals are not being delayed and the mandatory service for VAT for those with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold is still on track to be introduced from April 2019.
In terms of the MTD for Individuals programme, which is centred around the online Personal Tax Account, HMRC have confirmed they will be halting progress on simple assessment and real time tax code changes. HMRC “will continue to encourage more customers to use their Personal Tax Accounts and will focus on improving the existing service” but “additional services will be added only where they reduce phone and post contact or deliver significant savings”. To date only certain pensioners and taxpayers who have underpaid PAYE have been moved onto simple assessment (which is based on the Personal Tax Account) but there had been an expectation that more PAYE taxpayers would be moved out of self-assessment and into simple assessment in the near future. This is now being paused and there is no indication of when it will be resumed.
In relation to the MTD for Business proposals, HMRC are still saying as they have been for some time that, following the introduction for VAT in April 2019, the roll out to corporation tax and income tax (the latter for unincorporated businesses) will not be mandated until 2020 at the earliest. As to whether the focus on EU Exit work will cause a delay to that roll out in the future it is impossible to say at the moment, but there must be a possibility of that happening. If there is some delay, hopefully this time will be used to pilot systems and processes thoroughly so that any problems are ironed out before MTD for corporation tax and income tax become mandatory.
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