Is Enforced iXBRL Legal?
Thankfully I am nearer retirement than most of you but have spent approaching 40 years in our profession mainly as a chartered accountant and still as a chartered tax adviser. By personal choice my client base is now modest so I do not have the fee income to justify investment in tip-top software packages but I do not see why I should essentially be required to do so to maintain my existing client service. I am sufficiently computer literate to have been the designated computer partner in practices of let's say 50+ staff so I remain fully capable of dealing with today's CT procedures, but why am I evidently given no choice but to have to incur significant expenditure in continuing to submit data produced within a format which is essentially unchanged?
Forgive me if this posting is verbose, but I am yet to come across any individual in our profession who had previously even heard of iXBRL let alone who had the faintest idea what it was all about. It is clear from numerous postings on this site that most if not all of you out there are experiencing extensive problems in complying with this new regime. For my part I am hoping to get through my handful of simple corporation tax cases by using the astonishingly poor online service provided by HMRC. To briefly demonstrate how bad it is, but acknowledging that this particular horse has bolted, my one effort to exclude HMRC's invention of the tax free online incentive for PAYE filing from a client's taxable profits earlier this year proved impossible. The system refused to allow a negative entry in its disallowables so it was quite simply impossible to use the service to submit the simplest computation and produce an accurate result. Even yesterday I discovered various simple matters which the system will not cope with yet HMRC maintain that it is suitable for straightforward cases, including unincorporated associations, members' clubs and the like. It is crystal clear to me that their service will be totally unable to deal with the latter in particular as it does not even deal with a company with a simple Small Pools allowance claim, let alone the usual member:non-member tax adjustments.
I am therefore prompted to ask for justification of the legality of HMRC requiring iXBRL submissions of accounts and tax returns from 1 April 2011 when it has not provided the necessary tools to comply with that apparent statutory requirement. In that context I would not really expect them to provide a failsafe method to do so as their current system proves that that is too difficult to achieve at even a basic level. However, these new requirements entirely deny the facility for the previous submission of paper returns to report CT etc liabilities. By deduction that means that organisations in the corporation tax environment have no practical option but to instruct agents who have invested in both software & the related training so as to allow their staff to deal with their CT affairs. How can HMRC have been allowed to create a system which gives the vast majority of taxpayers no other practical option at a time when all concerned are trying to reduce overheads in today's difficult economic climate?
As we all know, self assessment tax return submission for individuals still allows the submission of paper returns but that is now entirely denied for corporation tax cases. How can this possibly be appropriate as it effectively means that the vast majority of CT organisations have no alternative but to invest heavily in software/training/third parties so as to allow them to meet the changed HMRC requirements. Even that seems to be fraught with difficulty as it appears that software which claims to deal with iXBRL is simply not performing as it needs to.
What do we all think of this + can anyone quote me the statutory authority for this unbelievable situation being imposed on our modest CT clients & ourselves?