Making Tax Digital for Business (MTDfB) starts 01 April 2019 for VAT-registered businesses over the VAT threshhold, and from 01 April 2020 for all others. To get my clients ready – whether mandated to submit tax returns in 2019 or later – I will be test-driving various software from the published list of approved providers later this year.
In the meantime, clients currently locked in a dance with paper are being encouraged to start exploring ways of avoiding the generation of printed documents like invoices, receipts and ledgers. As quarterly reports are needed by HMRC, the client and I must be able to access summarised figures very quickly without wading through a sea of printed matter.
Away from paper bites, MTDfB has me thinking about the changes that will be experienced by financial accountants. Rather than waiting for the box of paper at year end, every accountant worth their salt now have to be more involved in the (at least) monthly affairs of their clients in order to, at the very least, ensure that returns are completed every quarter. This makes for a much better and fulfilling relationship. It helps to be able to effect a change of procedure when things are going wrong rather than noticing it a year down the line. Also, being able to provide useful expert advice to clients who may struggle with tax payments is a good thing since difficulties will come to light earlier rather than later.
Obviously, as mentioned above, the changes do not start until 2020 for most, but I plan to have all my clients digital-ready before 01 April 2019.