How Will the Budget 2018 Affect North West Businesses?

How Will the Budget 2018 Affect North West Businesses

How Will the Budget 2018 Affect North West Businesses?

In a speech lasting 72 minutes, Chancellor Philip Hammons delivered his third budget as chancellor. The analysis is now in and we can reveal how the budget affects businesses across the North West. And it seems that there will be changes that affect many of our clients.

The Main Points

Personal Taxation

The personal allowance threshold is the rate at which people start paying income tax. The threshold for lower taxpayers at 20% will rise from £11,850 to £12,500 in April. Higher taxpayers – at 40% will see their personal income threshold rise from £46,350 to £50,000, again as of next April.

This tax cut came a year early and will continue to rise in line with inflation after these latest rises in April 2019.

Wages

The National Living Wage also increases by 4.9% to £8.21, from £7.83 an hour. The rate will change in April – find the current national living wage rates.

The Economy

You may have heard that as part of the budget speech, the chancellor said that the era of austerity is “finally coming to end”. The poor spring weather was blamed for the reduction in the 2018 growth forecast from 1.5% to 1.3%.

However, the forecast has been raised to 1.6% in 2019, with annual forecasts of 1.4% in 2020, 1.4% in 2021, 1.5% in 2022 and 1.6% in 2023.
Wages growth was at its highest for nearly a decade with 3.3 million more people being employed than in 2010. There are 800,000 more jobs forecast by 2022.

Business

There were several announcements relating to business which may affect some of our clients. Some of the most pertinent include;

* Extending changes to the way that self-employment is taxed. These changes will impact from 2020 including public sector to medium and large private companies.
* The high street is changing which is possibly why the £900m in small business rates relief and an extra £650m to rejuvenate the high street were made.
* There are changes to business rates too with firms with a rateable value of £51,000 or less will be cut by a third over two years. this measure will see independent shops, pubs and restaurant with £8,000 less to find in business rates over the coming years.

It was also announced that there would be no more PFI contracts in the future. Current PFI deals would be managed ‘new centre of excellence’ and done so “in the taxpayer’s interest”.

Large digital services companies also face changes with a 2% tax on UK revenues. Big technology companies will be affected from April 2020, with companies of global sales of £500m or more facing the new UK Digital Services Tax.

Small business friendly or not?

There is much more detail to the 2018 Autumn Budget but looking at the analysis and commentary from business leaders, many believe that this budget is the most small-business-friendly for some years.

Fuel duty will be frozen for the ninth year and the VAT threshold kept at £85,000, two moves that the small business community has praised.

All businesses understand that consumer behaviour is changing, no more so than the small business. The Federation of Small Business’ chairman Mike Cherry commented on the friendly nature of the budget but also how the chancellor has listened to the requests of the small business community.

How will the budget affect you?

But like budgets past and those to come in the future, there will be winners and losers. Find out how the 2018 budget affects you personally with this handy tool from BBC Business.

For businesses in the North West, the budget was hailed by many as ‘big, with some eye-catching measures’. Like other cities and towns, North West businesses are struggling but whilst some measures were seen as ‘helpful’, others were seen as a sticking plaster.

You can be assured that the team at Cortex Accounting will continue to make the best financial moves for your business.

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Making Tax Digital – What it Could Mean for Your Business

Making Tax Digital - Tax Advice Warrington

Making Tax Digital – What it Could Mean for Your Business

You may have heard of ‘Making Tax Digital’, a plan by the UK Government to make tax easier for sole traders, individuals and businesses to get their taxes right. It should help to keep tax affairs in order too and may spell the end of the annual tax return for millions. But will it deliver what it promises?

Modernising how we pay tax!

Currently, every business can have access to their own personalised digital tax account. This system is constantly being expanded and improved. But HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have loftier ambitions.

They want to modernise tax administration, modernising the tax system in Britain to be more effective and efficient, and easier for people to access. Its ambition, it says, is to “become one of the most digitally advanced tax administration in the world”.

Whilst most people agreed the Making Tax Digital for Business was the right way forward, there were concerns raised about both the pace of change and the scale. And this is why the government has announced an amended rolling out of the programme.

Businesses won’t be compelled to use the Making Tax Digital for Business system until April 2019. And only then they will only need to do so to meet VAT obligations.

If your business has a turnover above the VAT threshold, this applies to you. Smaller businesses, including start-ups, won’t need to use the system although you can choose to do so if you want.

Principles of the Maxing Tax Digital Programme

The programme is designed to bring significant benefits to businesses, regardless of their size, sector or industry.

Digital tax information means that at any time, a business and their tax adviser accountant with permission can check the details that HMRC are complete and correct, as well as other important tax information.

It is built on four principles;

#1 Better use of information

The tax system is notorious for being lumpy, slow to respond and for too long, was seen as complicated and inaccessible. When it came to imparting the right information, there were concerns about what information HMRC held on a business and how up to date this was.

Hence, better use of information became a driving force.

#2 Real-time tax

Waiting until the end of the year to find out how much tax was owed is something that any vibrant business would like to avoid. HMRC agree and wants businesses to be able to process and pay tax at intervals throughout the year. This will help to prevent errors and should make over or underpayments being a thing of the past.

#3 Single financial account

By 2020, HMRC will be able to provide a comprehensive financial picture of their accounts to customers. At the moment, there is a jigsaw of financial information and this Making Tax Digital programme will change that.

#4 Digital interaction

The workplace and the world have changed. Digital interaction is commonplace across many industries but tax was slow to catch up. It meant that accessibility was limited but with this programme, customers should be able to contact HMRC, their tax records etc. at a time that suits them

A bold vision

It is a bold vision and one that looks different to how tax has always been seen. Four our customers, whether sole traders or large companies, there will be benefits.

But it may take some getting used to and with the roadmap of changed planned out, there have already been some amendments to when and how the system will be introduced.

At Cortex Accounting, we will keep all our clients updated on the Making Tax Digital, any changes and what it means to them.

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HMRC Scam and Phishing Emails

is this hmrc email real

HMRC spoof emailsHMRC Scam and Phishing Emails

HMRC have issued a number of warnings about false texts and emails claiming the recipient is due a tax rebate or they need to speak to you urgently simply to obtain personal details.
 
The ‘phishing' scam attempts to take advantage of the fact that HMRC is currently processing income tax for 2017/18, so some individuals could receive a genuine tax refund.
 
HMRC says it never uses emails or texts to inform anyone about a tax rebate or penalty, or to ask for personal information.
 
If you are genuinely due a tax rebate for 2017/18 will receive a tax calculation letter sometime between June and October.
 
Anyone receiving an email or text telling them they are owed a tax refund is advised not to click any links in the messages or give out personal information.
 

Easy ways to tell that an email is a scam and not from the HMRC

– Spelling mistakes and poor grammar are an immediate obvious sign.
 
– Check the sender’s email address.  Fraudsters often have email accounts with HMRC or revenue names in them (such as ‘refunds@hmrc.org.uk’). These emails are designed to mislead the recipient.  
But you must still be vigilent as fraudsters can falsify the ‘from’ address to look like a legitimate HMRC address.
 
– Emails from HMRC will never:
• Tell you of a tax rebate
• Offer to send you a repayment
• Ask you to disclose any personal information
• Ask for financial information such as specific figures
• Send attachments, unless you’ve given prior consent
• Email you a link to a secure log in page
• Scammers will sometimes ask for immediate action. Be wary of emails containing phrases like ‘you only have 3 days to reply’ or ‘urgent action required’.
 
Always remember if you’re not 100% sure, do not open the email or any links. 
 
If you want to find out more the HMRC have plenty of information on their website which you can access by clicking here.  Alternatively you may contact Cortex Accounting who will be able to advise you.
 
 

How can you spot that your customer is struggling to pay? 

clients not paying tips

clients not paying tipsHow can you spot that your customer is struggling to pay? 

There are multiple red flags you can look for is your customer might be in financial difficulties, below are a few tips on what to look for: – 

1.Excuses and broken promises
How many chances are you happy to give your customer?  When they don’t pay as promised or make excuses you know they are going to struggle.

2. Not returning your calls
If they’re not returning your calls, even though you have left multiple messages, it is a definate sign they are avoiding you and unable to pay.

3. Keep your eye on their payment patterns
Look for changes to your regular customers payment patterns.  If they start to change significantly you might question their cash flow and consider reducing any credit limits. 

4. Service complaints
Complaints can happen at any time during the transaction.  New objections can be raised  to delay or get out of payment.  

5. Not buying from you so much 
If a customer is reducing what they buy from you when they have previously had a good steady pattern, this could be a sign they are in financial difficulty.  

6. Wants to pay by cheque
This is a very simple way to stall paying.  They take longer to clear and the cheque could bounce.  Do not supply them with any further services or products until the cheque has cleared.  It is always better to take a cheque than nothing!

7. Returned post
Never a good sign!

8. Ask for longer to pay
Continual request for more time to pay is a definate sign they are in trouble. The occasional request for a payment extension is probably not a serious concern, but if the client continually asks for an extension then you’ll know that something’s not right.

10. Gut feeling
Always go with your gut feeling.  If you even have an inkling someone is having financial difficulty and you still want to provide them your services, only give them with what you are potentially happy to lose!

If you’re still not sure about a customer, then please call or pop us an email at Cortex Accounting as we are always happy to give you advice.
 

A Tax Guide for The Holidays

Holiday Tax-Guide

holiday pay tax adviceA Tax Guide for The Holidays

Chances are as an employer you'll be providing a few benefits for your employees this year. This could include from office parties, to generous bonuses, or a nice holiday turkey. So this all begs the question every accountant is asking this time of year, what's taxable and what's not. So let's start.

Christmas Parties

Tax exemptions only apply to annual Christmas celebrations that are provided for ALL employees and their guests. The costs of this party cannot under any circumstances exceed £150 a head. If you do exceed this cost by even a penny you'll be tax liable not just for the surplus but for the full cost of the celebration. The only good loop hole is that this rule applies to all guests, not just your employees. That means whoever they bring will factor into the cost. Be careful not to exceed this as you may be responsible not just for the tax but also a national insurance fee than can make the cost hefty.

Gifts and Bonuses

Many companies will provide a nice pat on the back for their employees in the Christmas spirit in the form of a just reward. This may include a nice company issued gift or a cash bonus. In the case of a bonus the employee will be liable for taxes just as they are on all company pay and benefits. The same exact guidelines apply to vouchers as well, in which case they will be liable for the value of voucher on tax day.

“Small” Third Party Gifts

Gifts from small parties will often be received by employees during their day to day work. As long as these gifts are considered “small” or don't exceed a value of £250 they will not be taxable.

VAT

Client entertaining usually does not apply as a “business expense” for VAT, entertaining for your employees, however is a different story. For VAT purposes the definition of “employee” does not extend to partners of employees or former employees. Therefore if there are guests you may have to apportion these costs accordingly.

Also, any party or entertaining function that is only provided for directors, owners, or partners is usually not accepted as a business expense.

Criticism Follows Perceived Power Grab by HMRC

RPC has criticized HMRC saying they've failed to use the powers it already has and is now pursuing further powers, citing Conduct notices as an example.

Their a powerful weapon those conduct notices. They use them bring tax evading “high risk” promoters into submission and can further be used to impose more terms they'll have no choice but to comply with.

The last time these were used as common practice, however, was some time in the year 2014. Since that year fewer than five were issued deeming the power just about useless.

Conduct notices can lead to serious penalties. Most people assume since they haven't been used however, their necessity has simply died out. The penalty they could incur amounts anywhere from £5,000 and £1 million in penalties for failure to comply. There's also no right to appeal. The only way to challenge the penalty is through judicial review, and that's a long shot.

Adviser penalties

All of this occurs just as HMRC is in the process of expanding their powers to include sanctioning tax professionals. This penalty could amount up to the full amount of the tax evaded in such indictments.

It's been argued that parliament would better off making sure these expanded powers are actually needed or if HMRC should simply use the powers it has to enforce its own rules. They should also owe an explanation as to why these already existing powers have endured such neglect over the years before granting them more.

SDC – The HMRC Challenge

Three ways the Revenue raises the SDC hurdle

There are actually additional hurdles to overcome on this SDC test that make things even trickier, rendering the above definition as only half of what you need to know. Three of those hurdles include:

  1. Any person can subject you to SDC and therefore set you up to fail the test, and this means anyone not just the end user.
  2. If anyone even so much as has the “Right of SDC” to hang over them, you may fail the test, it doesn't even have to be pursued or enforced but merely be an existing power.
  3. Pay close attention to the language and you'll see the word “or” rather than “And” between the aforementioned terms. This means just one of three by itself could cause you to fail their test.

'DSC': Despondency, Simplicity, Clarity

These three troublesome terms in this law bear the appearance of having left many contractors despondent, giving up. The same can be said of even broad comments made by HMRC in the recently closed document on SDC. For example HMRC makes the following claim:

Where there are procedures, methods and instructions which must be followed, it is likely there will be SDC over the manner in which the services are provided.”

This is a very two-dimension and oversimplified view at best. Just briefing your workers should not be grounds for the one briefing to be allowed enact SDC over that individual. You can see this for example in Staples vs. the Secretary of State for Social Services. There are other cases that shed light on this problematic legislation, which you'll see more of below. Before you give up all hope, however, remember that the HMRC has asked for comments about their SDC definitions. Further consultation on this matter, HMRC clarifies that these contractors' arrangements will be considered in terms of both contractual and actual work performance, similar to IR35. This is good news and welcome clarification.

Steps you can take to stop SDC

Contractual review

This requires careful examination of every contract that you take on. This means that you'll be dealing with upper and lower levels of your contract, however, contractors are generally not allowed to see the upper level because of the confidentiality issues it holds. Because of that it is imperative to make sure that you insist that whoever you're working with inserts a special clause that requires upper and lower level arrangements to match exactly. You must further assert that you'll be allowed to sue if this agreement is not honoured.

Empirical

The best advice we can give them is to draw a sort of SDC-Specific document that confirms all of your arrangement with every contract. This will help clarify the SDC matter concisely. This works by specifically outline in all your contracts that SDC provisions do not apply in your current arrangements. This could become a standard CoA document signed by both the contractor and the client every time.

Another useful document to keep in stock might be a full “Anti-SDC” kit of sorts. This will also double as your “Anti-IR35”, think of it is bureaucracy repellent. This would include all email interactions between you and the client especially those in which the client requests “urgent” or emergency services that go beyond your standard contract. This will help show that you won't just be moved around at your client’s whims. You should also keep any documents handy that describe your requirements and specifications in the work you do for the client. Keep these vital documents around for any contract you engage in end clients and/or agencies. 

Sensible

If you're willing and able to pay you can build up an additional layer of dense with insurance that they may help protect you from mishaps with this in the future. At least look into available insurances especially see as how any requested withdrawal from tax relief based on expenses for these SDC contractors will fall under the jurisdiction of a PAYE investigation.

Interpretational

Finally, it's always important to arm yourself with the knowledge of case law. There's surprisingly quite a bit of a case based on these precedents to show the contractor's side of the issue. It also shows how rarely, especially specialist contractors can be controlled as SDC and HMRC are trying to insist upon.

Take for example the case of Morren v Swinton & Pendlebury Council where the judge recognised that supervision and control could hardly be used for a contractor with highly specialized skills and experience as a test. The ESM7025 manual laid out by HMRC itself states: “control over how a job is done can only be exercised where there is scope for it.”

A large number of tax tribunals in 2011 also involved this control test. Marlen Ltd, a Mr Hughes (a contractor) at JCB had received briefs by his appointed project manager and this supervisory figure outline the exact specifications of every that they were going to build. The engineering manager even stated that their project leaders would brief the contractor and there he would be under their control. 

The only control exercised, however consist of occasionally checking to oversee the project and check on its current progress. Mr. Hughes was forced to report daily for specifications and instructions from the senior designers. He was also only working on a small piece of the overall project to be completed. It had to be coordinated with the other efforts in order to fit into the final product, which could have been achieved by strict control and direction from management. It was ruled then that the degree of control had to considered based on the actually work that was being done.

Finally consider the case of Primary Path Ltd where the judge once again explained how the idea of control could be a complicated issue in the case of someone with specialized skills working as a specialist. It was decided then that the contractor could only be subject to control to the point where it was absolutely necessary for the completion of the final product according to management specifications. Meaning then that the level of supervision or control exercised did not exceed what someone should expect when hiring an independent contractor. So once again HMRC lost.

 

Taxman can’t be a law unto himself

Of course tax tribunals alone are not enough to set a solid legal precedence. They can offer of a useful set of guidelines, however, it is the courts who interpret and answer the question of control, which is tied into SDC terms. The good news is that this department won't be able to simply apply and interpret these guidelines to suit their own case. The courts would never allow it.

Making Tax Digital – The Big Plan!

 

The tax system is undergoing something of a revolution with the new system HMRC is implementing. HMRC is striving to simplify the system and provide quicker access to taxpayers and business people who need it most. Already they are working on a plan that over the next four years they will create one of the most advance digital tax systems on the globe.

 

Some have said that self-employed individuals won't be ready for this revolution especially seeing as they're not used to filing quarterly returns. This is actually a common misconception. All this means is that instead of putting together one big system for the year we taxpayers can check quarterly and update their information and verify its accuracy. They can then send the update to HMRC and it's that simple. This is nowhere near the same as filing a full tax return each and every quarter as commonly feared.

For self-employed individuals that use a cash basis system they want the update to be adequate on their own to indicate overall taxable profit and therefore make it easy to figure what's owed.

Their goal is that by 2020 we can reduce the overall costs of managing tax systems for business by as much as £400 million annually. Digitizing the system will help a great deal in this process and provide quicker and easier access to their records that in theory will help save both time and money.

The conception here is that most business are unprepared to use these digital devices because they have no experience using them is actually yet another misconception. Every business uses some form of technology whether it's a system of email or online banking and bill pay, to some degree they are familiar with it. The same can be true of digital tax systems with 3.7 million businesses already using this in some form. For those businesses that aren't up to date with the modern smartphone and computer systems HMRC is offering alternatives such as phone transactions and provisions that allow you to update via proxy.

For most businesses the transition will be straightforward especially those that are already keeping records digitally. For those who aren't as prepared they hope to provide free software and careful instructions and tutorials as well as extra help for those who need time to adjust to the new processes. They're also introducing the changes gradually as not to shock anyone over night.

Businessmen and women will have to start using the new updates starting 6 April 2018 at which they will provide HMRC with digital updates and find themselves able to make payments regularly and on their own initiative. For those businesses paying tax this transition will also start in 2018 while those working with VAT payments will see these come online in April of 2019 and those paying corporate tax will see the changes by the same month in 2020. 

Each stage will involve a series of tests and rigorous vetting process to ensure the best service before the programs go mainstream as well as to provide assistance to those who need the extra help getting connected.

The system will be 100% digital by 2020, which will eliminate a great deal of the bureaucracy of forms and red tape. Business will be able to update and pay at their leisure moving to more a “real time” format for their cash flow.

These services are surprisingly in high demand as we've been told by a number of waiting entrepeneurs that they'd rather forego the waiting period that takes place before they know where they are. This allows them more certainty and therefore a better planning experience while there are others who want to pay as the go so they can treat their taxes as a regular business expense rather than as a nasty surprise.

Digital tax accounts will allow user to manage everything related to their taxes as well as the many customer service options and added features. They can also find tutorials, webinars, and help on social media to learn the new system and the tricks of the trade. The goal of HMRC is to make taxes simple and less painful for Entrepeneur’s and businesses everywhere. You'll also of course be able to manage contacts and security as well so you won't go bed worrying about death AND taxes.

Making it simple will also reduce the number of errors. It's always best to pay the right amount the first time rather than having to file a bunch of new paperwork later. These digital forms will reduces these expenses in terms of time and money by making it easier to submit accurate and up to date information.

The idea here is not to disrupt the balance of things between businesses and tax agents. In fact studies show that businesses will still want to use an agent to file taxes on their behalf despite some of the concerns otherwise they won't be out of the job. It's understandable that people will be at unease during a transition like this but there is nothing to be alarmed about.

We've consulted and continue to work with a number of stakeholders for different takes and views on these changes while also encouraging those with a vested interest in this to get involve. We've had round table discussion as well bringing together business with the software providers. We also welcome feedback from all businesses that we would be working with.

In order provide better service and to explain how this new system will work HMRC have released a video on the main YouTube channel explain how it all works. It basically breaks down how businesses and self-employed individuals would experience the new system. It then further goes on to explain how the transitions (including the switch to a quarterly system) will actually be beneficial for everyone in the long run.

IR35 Explained

 

Basically IR35 has an affect on contractors who don't meet HMRC criteria in order to be deemed “self-employed” by their definition. This rule can mean an increase in tax rates as well as N.I liability and further will stop contractors from holding on to profits in order to invest in future growth.

Unfortunately this means all contractors falling under IR35 will be required to file a tax return for taxation and may be liable for N.I (National Insurance) after reporting deductions and expenses. Their income them will be termed as a “deemed payment” that follows these deductions. These companies will have a combination of IR35 turnover as well as turnover that is unrelated IR35. That means the IR35 rules will not apply to that the cash income and other earnings associated with contracts that aren't regulated.

Some of the usual Section 198 terms will still apply so you may be able to still claim most of those expenses. Furthermore there are provisions for other expenses that are classified as intermediary and this can be claimed in addition to the 5% allowance. These might include:

  • Pensions – either personal or executive
      
  • Business related travelling expenses – Must have occurred during the execution business duties
      
  • Subsistence – Meals and other away from home expenses
      
  • Professional Indemnity cover
      
  • Benefits in kind – fringe benefits like private medicinal coverage

Training expenses do not qualify as part of this allowance. If contractors are unsure of their status under IR35 they should consult a legal professional. If you do fall under these regulations you may be able to adjust your work practices in order accommodate an “IR35-friendly” approach in order to escape the regulations.

 

Are you 'Self Employed'?

First and foremost you must establish whether you are considered 'employed' or 'self employed' under HMRC’s terms. There is some ambiguity in the “employment status” guidelines, which seems to help very little.

They state that they will most likely conduct an overall evaluation of the contracting entrepreneurs position to determine which category of employment applies to them under their rules. Any amended contracts then, should be reflected in your general work practices.

If you are able to make the appropriate adjustments it's in your best interest to be deemed in this case as “self-employed” so it may be best to explore how you can diversify or change your business model in order to accommodate.

There Are a Few Loopholes

 

  • If you can show yourself as “self employed” this is the best option you can pursue. You will need to try and establish an “IR35 friendly contract”, with work practices that match those standards.
  • Contract overseas-sometimes location is the best way to adjust your tax status. Set up in sunnier climate for fairer weather and fairer taxes. There are many reasons to contract overseas in addition to taxes for example lower living costs. Beware however that for what reason you're moving overseas taxes are often even more complicated in the U.K depending on your situation so always consult a tax specialist.
  • Become permanent: You could become a permanent contractor especially if it's something you love and are good at it. Just make sure you consider the other two options beforehand. Some contractors prefer to go permanent, to escape the uncertainty of IR35 and for a more secure career future.
  • Doing nothing: Many contractors have tried to ignore this legislation hoping it will go away, unfortunately this is probably the worst option available. It's better to prepare yourself for what's coming so you can make the best financial arrangement to bear the brunt of the burden.

HMRC MTD Video

HMRC Releases New Video on Tax Digital account creation for Business

 

In order to transform the environment of taxes for business into a more fully digital platform HMRC created a video on YouTube that outlines how these digital tax accounts work when introduced to all small to medium businesses in April of 2018

The video itself only boasts just under four minutes of length. The focus is a very simple approach to explaining the benefits of these digital tax accounts. It starts by showing you the self-employed plumber who foregoes the use of accounting software.

This very brief video (3 minutes and 42 seconds to be exact) will show how this amazing software can help revolutionize the way sole trader manage their liability and how simple it's made with their new digital tax accounts. The app available for them to download, will require them to update their current expenses and then gives them a monthly estimate of what they owe in taxes. The plumber then in their example, photographs receipts onto his phone to be uploaded into his tax account via smartphone as a way to keep track of them.

At this point it's explained after snapping these photos that the tax account has been updated. He now knows what he owes and has nothing else to worry about other than setting aside the money for when it's time to pay the tax man. It's also quick to point out that this doesn't equate to a transition into quarterly tax reporting through the same process as the submission of a VAT return.

The majority of 5.4m business throughout the U.K are already managing their taxes on the internet, in fact we’re at a point where over 99% of VAT returns are submitted this way. Most customer's, however tend to use middlemen in the form of tax advisers and accountants to complete their taxes on their behalf. This is an issue HMRC will need to confront before a new system can take hold.

They claim that they are aiming for the year 2020 as the year that the old system for annual tax return filing will be thrown out and replaced with “Simpler online Systems”.

These new digital accounts bring together an array of information on file and combine them into a single process simply by submitting it into an app designed for record keeping that sends it to HMRC.

These plans for quarterly reporting however, have known no shortage of critics. Tax advisers, accountants, and other professional tax institution have put the idea under severe scrutiny.

According to HMRC you can replace one big return each year with a system that allows businesses verify their information and keep it up to date each quarter.

Their argument is that it will allow small businesses to keep better track of their tax bills by switching to this simplified model of quarterly reporting. .

HMRC stated: ‘Many taxpayers want more certainty over their tax bill and access to an in-year picture of their tax position, which their new digital accounts will provide. We know that too many viable new businesses go under when they receive their tax bill simply because they didn’t know how much to set aside. Digital tax accounts will help fix this issue.’

 

For many of the small businesses who fail to store digital records there will be many options and features designed just for them including some of the free features for those with fairly simple, run of the mill tax filings. Included will also be very simple, concise and easy to understand instructions on how to use the account.

Soon they'll be consulting on the details of system operation.

Some concerns have arisen that their new plans could lead to a digital split of sorts for those with access to broadband and those without, as the latter will have a severe disadvantage. Even worse will be the disadvantage to those that own smartphones or the latest computer systems. These individuals will be offered certain alternatives as contingency. For example they could update their information over the telephone and execute actions on their account via proxy.

 

It's not currently clear when HMRC will reach out to tax payers regarding their digital accounts, which are expected to be in full force soon.

 

An animation called Making Tax Digital video on YouTube which show how the new digital tax accounts will operate can be found on HMRC’s official YouTube channel

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