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My guess is Making Tax Digital will go ahead as planned. The present election hiatus, that places civil servants in “Purdah” for the duration, and the relevant legislation in suspension, has side-lined the issue somewhat, but I expect the “washed-up” parts of the Finance Bill 2017 to be reinstated.

I think we must assume that self-employed businesses (including landlords) with turnover in excess of the VAT registration threshold will need to register for MTD and be prepared to upload relevant data from April 2018.

As HMRC have advised that this upload process will have to be facilitated via the use of recognised accounts software my concerns are to identify how, as a practitioner, I will support clients to fulfil their MTD obligations.

I use Xero for bookkeeping purposes and VAT filing, and TaxCalc to convert Xero TBs into statutory accounts and tax returns – both filed via the TaxCalc software. As far as I can presently ascertain, both Xero and TaxCalc are developing API links with the, MTD personal tax accounts; in fact, TaxCalc are developing a simplified cash book add-on, I assume clients will be able to use this to replace their spreadsheet solutions to bookkeeping?

The clock is ticking.

Post election, we will have less than 9 months to unscramble which piece of software is going to act as the MTD upload engine, let’s hope that the software providers are not in purdah and that the MTD solutions are produced in good time.

I would be interested in receiving comments from practitioners on how they are approaching this dilemma – thoughts?

Bob Edwards

Bob has been working with practices across the UK offering novel ways to improve cross-sales and increase new client acquisitions. He is also interested in "step changes" in legislation that offer challenges, and therefore opportunities, for practitioners to provide new recurring and one-off support services to clients.

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