The impact of the election

Due to the forthcoming election a lot of the provisions of what would have been part of this year’s Finance Act were dropped. This was part of the usual process whereby the Government and the opposition agree to drop items that would, by their very nature, need debate, in order to pass the significantly reduced Finance Act quickly. In this process all the provisions relating to Making Tax Digital, including the need for businesses to do quarterly reporting direct from digital progams, were dropped. This led many commentators to speculate that at long last the Government have listened to the voice of reason and cancelled these extremely controversial changes.

A short reprieve

Alas if only this were true. The Government has spent a significant amount of time and money on this initiative, and is unlikely to give up on it. The significant haste of its introduction, with some businesses having to implement quarterly reporting in less than a year from now, certainly indicates how urgently they want to introduce these measures. The interruption caused by the election would give the Government an ideal opportunity to rethink the issue, and at least implement a more sensible timescale for its introduction. However, if Theresa May gets the expected landslide in the election, then the fear is that the Treasury will look upon this as business as usual, and all the provisions of Making Tax Digital will re-appear, more or less unchanged, in a Finance Act later in the year, possibly after another Budget.

Greater uncertainty for businesses

Even without the uncertainty introduced by the election, the whole issue of Making Tax Digital is something that a lot of business owners know little about. The fact that the primary legislation to implement the requirements has now been delayed has added another layer of uncertainty. Some of the questions about how it will work are still not clear as these would have been introduced by secondary legislation after the Finance Act was passed. Thus, we are still somewhat still in the dark over some of the issues. Not only this, but those who are trying to create the software to cope with the requirements of MTD still do not have a clear idea of what exactly is going to be needed. There is a great danger therefore of businesses having to start using software in April 2018 that they are unfamiliar with, and which has hardly had time to be tested.

Bringing business owners up to speed

From the end of May onwards, we will be holding free weekly seminars at DEB to inform all our clients, and any other business owners that wish to attend, what is involved with MTD; how it will affect them; how will they can cope with it; and what alternatives they will have available to them. We are also creating new online software called DEB-on-Air to provide our clients with an easier, and less expensive option for doing their bookkeeping, than the existing range of cloud based programs, such as Xero, Quickbooks, and Sage-One. Our aim is to provide clients with choices and alternatives. Whilst we believe most of our clients will opt for DEB-on-Air, we have also become the Platinum Partner with QuickBooks Online for the Barnsley area. In addition, we are also into our fourth year of developing DEB-Book ProActive which enables us to provide cost effective bookkeeping services for our clients. Our innovative approach in creating award winning digital software solutions to help our clients will provide them with lots of alternatives to cope with the forthcoming changes.

Understand what you must do

It is important that all business owners understand what impact Making Tax Digital will have on them. If you are a DEB client we will be contacting you over the coming months to get you onto one of our seminars. If you are not one of our clients but would like to attend one of the seminars, please telephone Lisa on 01226 245824 or email her to book a place. Make sure you understand what these changes will mean to you. Now is the time to start taking action.