Vector illustration of Tax written above a laptop. % icons red-resting different aspects of tax encircle the laptopJoin the government’s pilot and start sending regular income tax updates through HMRC’s Making Tax Digital system, if you’re self-employed.

The tax authority’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) system will be rolled out in 2020, and last year a limited pilot program was launched to test the new digital system that will require businesses to report taxes digitally. The pilot has now been extended to all self-employed taxpayers in the UK. This means if you’re a sole trader with income from one business and your current accounting period ends after 5 April 2018, you can volunteer to file your income tax updates to HMRC digitally via the compliant software providers supporting the pilot. The pilot is also said to open up next month to unincorporated landlords.

What software can self-employed UK taxpayers use for the pilot?

HMRC’s list of software providers at the time of writing only contains two entries – IRIS and Rhino, but further accounting software companies are expected to appear on the list as the pilot progresses. Compliant software allows digital record keeping of income and expenses, sending quarterly updates to HMRC and viewing tax estimates from HMRC regarding the tax you owe. This is based on the updates provided by the software.

If you are using different software for your accounting, it may still be possible to pull client information directly from that software into IRIS and RHINO, but you will need to check with your software provider whether they have a partnership in place.

Why join the pilot?

MTD is coming into force eventually, and by signing up now you can not only help the government test this new tax service, but it’s also a chance to get comfortable with the new system yourself.

If your only source of income is through your jobs as a self-employed individual, by signing up to the pilot, you will not need to worry about filing a Self Assessment tax return at the end of the year. Instead, you’ll see the taxes owed in real time as the year progresses.

You can sign up for the pilot using your Government Gateway user ID and password, which is the same one you use for the Self Assessment online service.

Sending MTD updates using your accountant

As accountants for small business owners, we’ve been providing MTD transition support to small businesses in London since the rollout of the pilot scheme last year, and are happy to extend our services to the self-employed. Integrating IT systems can be challenging and time-consuming and without IT support, you may struggle with HMRC’s accounting software. We understand this at TaxAgility and also know that dealing with new and unfamiliar software adds extra work to your day. We work with XERO, a cloud-based accounting software, to prepare our clients of all sizes for a smooth transition.

Give us a call on 020 8108 0090 today to hear more about how our small business accountants at TaxAgility can help you.