HMRC want volunteers to sign up for MTD testing

Are you going to get involved?

Didn't find your answer?

Good afternoon everyone, 

I’m sure most of you have seen but in HMRC’s agent update they are offering an opportunity to take part in testing for MTD. 

“From April 2024, HMRC is carrying out further testing to ensure that when the system is launched in April 2026, it provides agents and their clients with the best experience.”

“We’re encouraging agents to take part in the testing programme from April 2024. Taking part in testing is a good opportunity to familiarise yourself and a small number of your clients with MTD for ITSA well ahead of 2026, so you can prepare your business and be ready to support the rest of your clients.”

Are you up for taking part or would you prefer to pretend that it’s not happening?

HMRC did say, “During testing you’ll have access to a dedicated customer support team to help you through the process and your feedback will help shape the system.” So there is an opportunity to offer your thoughts on the whole process. 

Looking forward to hearing what you lot think, 

Have a good rest of your evening, 

Molly.

Replies (22)

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By Paul Crowley
29th Feb 2024 16:58

Not a chance. HMRC would ignore my comments so what would be the point?

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By FactChecker
29th Feb 2024 17:41

Wrong conclusion there (regarding choices), Molly:
"Are you up for taking part or would you prefer to pretend that it’s not happening?"

It's not a binary world out there anymore and MTD rather proves it.

It is undoubtedly (currently) intended to happen - although there is *serious* doubt (not just from sarcastic observers) as to whether it will achieve anything describable as lift-off, let alone avoid a rapid crash-landing.
[FWIW that's based on political will + the economics + the lack of social engagement, as much as on the disgraceful lack of vision/specification that is headed in the direction of a claim that a cardboard box with painted wheels is a car if we say so.]

So why would anyone (without a vested interest in spinning out the car crash) 'join in'?
I could continue with more analogies, but to put it simply ... if I've observed someone releasing dead fish and live sharks into the sea at my favourite beach, then I'm going to change where I go swimming.

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By AdamJones82
29th Feb 2024 17:43

"or would you prefer to pretend that it’s not happening"

What an absolute insult to the people that come on here and view your ads paying for your site and job.

It was first announced by George Osborne and in all the years that have passed since then, the only change that has happened is that we submit box 1-9 VAT Return figures through a different portal. Not one bit of extra data is sent.

MTDfIT is no nearer ready than it was since the last umpteenth official delay

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stonks
By WinterDragon
29th Feb 2024 17:55

I (like norstar in 2022 https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/tax/hmrc-policy/treasury-delays-mtd-itsa...) was left outraged at HMRC's decision to delay MTD ITSA just 4 months before it was supposed to be implemented. I have a few hundred pounds worth of branded brochures collecting dust in the corner that had started to be distributed to clients in 2022.

Due to HMRC setting the precedent of making huge changes just 4 months before implementation, I will not be getting involved with any pilots until there is less than 90 days before implementation and there is confidence amongst the profession that it is going to go ahead.

I do agree with the sentiment of AdamJones and FC's comments that your binary question isn't quite fair as I am not up for taking part but nor am I going to pretend that it will never happen. Clients that could benefit from digitalising their records and are likely to be included within the criteria for MTD will receive my advice and support over the next few years to assist them with preparing but I shall not be sounding the alarm bells as I still have the visual reminder of what happened last time in the corner of our office.

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Replying to WinterDragon:
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By Geoff56
01st Mar 2024 10:28

Winter Dragon, wasn't it 16 months' notice? Supposed to start in April 2024, but postponement announced in December 2022. But I agree, not a lot of notice for those who had been devoting time and effort to prepare.

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Replying to Geoff56:
stonks
By WinterDragon
01st Mar 2024 16:46

You are right, I was mistaken. I think I got confused with basis period reform but I've checked my notes which were loosely titled "MTD ITSA strategy" and I had planned to to transition the vast majority of our sole-traders and landlords from April 2023 in preparation for 2024. So it was not 4 months notice of implementation, it was 4 months notice for my internal planned implementation of compulsory digitalisation of our clients (unless they had cause for exemption). My point still stands that 16 months was cutting it a bit short given the amount of sole-traders/landlords it would have affected at the £10,000 threshold.

And whilst making corrections, I withdraw my criticism of Molly's framing of the question because it got me to comment and join the debate on a topic - which is Molly's job if I'm not mistaken. I may have misdirected my fury over HMRC's approach to MTD ITSA at semantics.

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Molly Macfarlane
By Molly Macfarlane
29th Feb 2024 20:37

Appreciate the responses. For those annoyed by 'Are you up for taking part or would you prefer to pretend that it’s not happening?' - my point of including two extremes opens for opinions that fall between them both.

I can't include every single opinion and reaction that people might have on MTD. If I did I would probably get someone complaining my post was too long.

Cheers.

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Replying to Molly Macfarlane:
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By FactChecker
29th Feb 2024 20:52

Sorry, but honestly don't understand what you mean by "opens for opinions that fall between them both"?

But, just to be clear, the word you used (however unintentionally) that was both superfluous and annoyed some people - including me - was "pretend".

It has all the connotations of deceiving (whether oneself or others) and hiding from that nasty old reality ... none of which is likely behaviour by any professional.

You could just as easily have said: 'Are you up for taking part or would you prefer to find out first if it’s really happening?' ... thereby not sounding like the language of HMRC with their tendency to 'if unsure of our position, blame someone else'.

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By DKB-Sheffield
29th Feb 2024 21:47

MTD...? Eh? Never heard of it!

As for the quotes given in the OP...

“We’re encouraging agents to take part in the testing programme from April 2024. Taking part in testing is a good opportunity to familiarise yourself and a small number of your clients with MTD for ITSA well ahead of 2026, so you can prepare your business and be ready to support the rest of your clients.”

So... are we to take it from this that MTD is now oven-ready? If not, what are we being asked to 'familiarise' ourselves with? And how would 'subjecting' clients to potential never ending changes assist them - or the rollout to future clients.

I'm not ignoring MTD, but I'm also not chomping at the bit to join the trial at this stage. Providing feedback that will likely fall on deaf ears is also not on my agenda.

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Replying to DKB-Sheffield:
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By FactChecker
29th Feb 2024 22:06

100% to "... are we to take it from this that MTD is now oven-ready?" 'cos it ain't!!!

Trouble is, if HMRC only get extremely eager agents (even a handful of them) and they, naturally, only put forward the very simplest clients (to avoid unpaid pain) ... then HMRC, consciously or otherwise, will be able to emulate Nelson and declare that they "see no problems"!

What we need is a few brave souls to:
a) allocate a trainee in their office to support any 'pilot' clients;
b) select from their list of PITA clients (who are next for the chop) those with complex needs;
c) volunteer for this exciting opportunity ... using a) and b) above.

If it doesn't work out then those brave souls will have lost little (and gained the undying thanks of the rest of us) ... and, in the highly unlikely event that it works and HMRC rapidly adapt their software/services in the light of feedback, then those by now hardy souls can reap the glory (whilst the rest of us groan but in a subdued tone because it just became feasible).
I *do* like a happy ending!

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boxfile
By spilly
29th Feb 2024 22:26

I might be more inclined to take part if I was going to be recompensed for my time and effort. Relying on the goodwill of participants seems to indicate that those who sign up for it might already be already predisposed (or just already resigned) towards MTD.

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DougScott
By Dougscott
01st Mar 2024 00:31

If HMRC help me then I would be very happy to help them, however in the past few years HMRC have made my life more and more difficult so I think I'll pass on this occassion, thank you very much.

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By bernard michael
01st Mar 2024 09:23

Why would anyone commit Hara-Kiri to please HMRC ???

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Replying to bernard michael:
stonks
By WinterDragon
01st Mar 2024 16:47

An underrated pun, good one!

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
01st Mar 2024 09:38

No-one is pretending that it's not happening. It is a matter of fact that it was supposed to have happened already, but has repeatedly been pushed back instead. Scepticism that it will happen as described is a perfectly rational response to that.

Regardless, asking for volunteers for a test like this is ludicrous. Something this important needs to be tested across a broad range of submissions. The only way to achieve that is to approach agents with that broad range (based on filed returns) and providing an incentive to take part.

This is just a PR exercise, and a poorly thought out one too.

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Replying to stepurhan:
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By Leywood
01st Mar 2024 15:20

stepurhan wrote:

This is just a PR exercise, and a poorly thought out one too.

To go with the email received today about HMRC turning up at FAB to talk about just such a topic.

Shame they cannot be persuaded to talk about their shoddy service, then I would get my ticket for Fab now. As it is I will just have to endure (aka ignore) the spammy emails trying to persuade me to go.

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By JCresswellTax
01st Mar 2024 10:23

You would need to be completely off your rocker to get involved in this nonsense on a voluntary basis.

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Replying to JCresswellTax:
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By FactChecker
01st Mar 2024 11:25

... which might well be just the pre-qualification sought by HMRC!

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By AdamJones82
01st Mar 2024 14:31

HMRC and the software developers remind me of the Blackadder 2 alchemy scene where Lord Percy is adamant he's created gold and Blackadder answers witherly "It's green"

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By jonharris999
01st Mar 2024 15:27

I think if we can recruit a couple of willing clients, we'll do it. I can't see that there is anything to lose, and it's better to be ITTAPO than OTTAPI. We volunteered for the testing of the Plastic Packaging Tax stuff and on balance I was pleased we did. It didn't take much time, and it made us better informed about the process as it went along - hard to say if it was a net time cost or saving overall - pretty close I reckon.

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Replying to jonharris999:
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By FactChecker
01st Mar 2024 15:42

PPT not my bag (sorry!), but presumably they didn't keep changing their minds during the test phase (about what they wanted, when or how)? And it didn't involve clients entirely re-writing their day-to-day bookkeeping processes?

THAT is why people are so reluctant to jump in the MTD ITSA pool before it's necessary ... far more so than the understandable lack of belief in either its necessity or efficacy.

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Replying to FactChecker:
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By jonharris999
02nd Mar 2024 08:44

Fair points. PPT was a much more limited beast.

Yes, I wouldn't be interested unless we can persuade a couple of clients who are already VAT-regd and on software, so that we are simply adding a new type of 1/4ly reporting to the type we are already doing. It seems to me that's likely to be minimal work and to give us more understanding and visibility of the game.

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