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Making Tax Digital: Welcome Change or Worrying Burden?

44819283 - digital online tax payment policy office conceptThe government’s Making Tax Digital plan was first touched upon during Budget 2015, then again in December of last year when they launched the ‘Making Tax Digital Roadmap’ in an effort to explain how their plan to turn HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) into one of the most “digitally-advanced tax administrations in the world by 2020,” would be achieved.

But the question remains, despite all of the government’s assertions that Making Tax Digital will reduce the taxpaying burden for all individuals (small business owners, employed individuals with other income, retired individuals, and more), should this be seen as a welcome change for taxpayers or indeed a worrying burden?

With the consultation period on these changes due to run until 7 November of this year, here at Tax Agility we’ve looked at what Making Tax Digital may mean for you, and how we can help you to navigate these changes.

Who is Affected

If you’re a small or medium-sized business (SME) owner, self-employed, or a landlord with turnover over £10,000 per year, you will be affected by these changes. This last point refers to all landlords making over £10,000 per year (gross), even if you’re in full-time employment and you just rent out a property on the side.

There are also edge-cases that will also be affected, such as pensioners whose pension exceeds their personal allowance.

What is Required

If you’re affected by Making Tax Digital you will be required to have a digital tax account through which you will report your accounts to HMRC every three months (once a quarter) under standard categorised headings (sales, expenses, etc).

This will no doubt be a burden, as despite what the government wants to think tax is not at the forefront of most people’s minds on a day-to-day basis; that’s what accountants are for. That said, the government is correct in its assumption that more frequent reporting by those who don’t work alongside an accountant will help to keep them on top of their tax liabilities.

Is Big Brother Watching?

Though there’s really no need to be paranoid, especially if you have nothing to hide, this is a fair question and one that’s come up consistently since the government announced their ‘Making Tax Digital Roadmap’ back in December of last year.

It’s certainly true that the more we use our smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers to digitise our records and store them in ‘the cloud’ the more opportunity there will be for this data to be used against us should it get into the wrong hands. And for those of us who grew up before the computerisation of everything, the idea of taking photographs of our receipts and uploading them to the internet can seem somewhat daunting. But from working with computerised accounting software here at Tax Agility for many years we can tell you that so long as you’re sensible, computerised software is both safe and convenient.

Experienced Tax Accountants

To speak with a professional accountant to discuss the government’s upcoming Making Tax Digital changes, or for anything else, contact us today on 020 8780 2349 or get in touch with us via our contact page to arrange a complimentary, no obligation meeting.

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