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MTD and politics, shaken not stirred

Does a snap election give accountants leverage?

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In light of the announcement to seek to call a General  Election, is this the opportunity to attempt to kill MTD?

A concerted campaign of e mails from accountants representing the SME sector , to their clients, urging them to vote against the Conservatives if they do not scrap their proposals, could be a fairly powerful weapon.

This election is going to be very interesting, Labour in a shambles, UKIP lost purpose, Liberals with opportunities-but can they seize them (no real signs  yet they can) and the SNP set to rampage amongst the Scottish Electorate.

Concerted efforts by particular lobbies carrying significant numbers of voters could well be listened to by the government, whilst on a national poll I would expect the Conservatives to walk it ,given state of Labour first past post gives rise to interesting tactical voting; in this election their are more disgruntled voters than normal, should accountants tap into issue politics to help kill MTD?

p.s. Got a response from SNP re MTD but ,as was likely, not convinced they feel it is important to them. Edinburgh Conservative Association still to respond, I suggested  to them I might withold my vote re the local elections in May if no reasonable response ,think  may extend it to the General Election.

p.p.s. Talked politics with my neighbour in Sweden at Easter, apparently Theresa is nicknamed  "Maybe" in Swedish politics.

 

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By garyturner
18th Apr 2017 12:07

You don't need to travel too far to deduce that at least one of Labour's election manifesto pledges will likely be to scrap MTD, or significantly pare it back.

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/tax/hmrc-policy/9am-lowdown-corbyn-promi...

Gary Turner
Managing Director, Xero
@garyturner

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Replying to garyturner:
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
22nd Apr 2017 17:07

The cost of MTD is surely less than the £10 per hour minimum wage Labour are proposing for all workers. Will kill small business with coffee shops, pubs etc.

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Locutus of Borg
By Locutus
18th Apr 2017 12:08

Most of the population have never heard of MTD and wouldn't care about it if they had.

Probably most of the business community have either never heard of it or don't really understand what it is.

It will be a non-issue in the General Election. Brexit and other things will be a thousand times more important to the electorate.

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Replying to Locutus:
Maytuna
By DJKL
18th Apr 2017 12:49

The point is should we make it an issue?

An e mail, in simple terms, to all clients spelling out possible ramifications of MTD re their business/operations, cost and time implications, might well be fruitful-in my experience something that directly impacts a family is far more concentrated upon than esoteric questions re position in Europe, tariffs etc. Also sells well on the Big Brother is watching you angle.

Threat of said e mails, en masse, might elicit government response, the online resolution was pretty tame but they know it has no teeth, it is mere sop to actually listening, a threat to their sitting in the House, much more direct and immediate.

There are a lot of p***ed natural supporters of parties at the moment, party allegiances forged in better times have never been weaker and, speaking from a personal point of view, my natural position to say vote Conservative is pretty shaken at present, I could readily see me shifting to the Liberals without even a goodbye- suspect fair few others might decide kicking their natural party of choice is also good fun.

So, who else is up for a concerted campaign of the threat of our sending a standard newletter to all clients outlining possible impact on them re MTD and outlining government's current unwillingness to explain fully their cost/benefit analysis and reasoning why they want to proceed?

The Government's current close tax gap waffle needs better explained re cause/effect, a rational argument, if x then y, they need to explain why they think what they propose will achieve this vague aim, they have had their chance to justify their ideas, so put up or shut up.
(Do they think electorate is stupid, saying something does not make it happen, and who do clients trust more, their accountants or their MPs?)

The aim would be get Government to listen , if they will not try to remove them, don't really care who takes their seats. The point is to get them to believe united action damages their chances, sitting MPs have one, primary, concern-continuing to be sitting MPs, scare them and they will repent of their follies.

(Just finished reading Hilary Mantel "Place of Greater Safety " on holiday, inspiring stuff, storm the Bastille)

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By Chris Mann
18th Apr 2017 12:10

"In light of the announcement to seek to call a General Election, is this the opportunity to attempt to kill MTD"?

Oh, wouldn't that be loverly, loverly, loverly"
(With thanks to My Fair Lady)

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RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Apr 2017 12:14

11% Class 4 here we come.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Chris Mann
18th Apr 2017 12:20

and, of course, this time, included in the manifesto.

The Election also provides an opportunity for cabinet changes (assuming that the Conservative's form a Government) and, from events so far, I'd imagine that Philip Hammond may be surplus to requirements?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
rebecca cave
By Rebecca Cave
18th Apr 2017 14:58

Tax lock will be abolished, possibly also pensions tripple- lock.
All previous tax promises up for grabs in new manifestoes
class 4 NIC increased to 12%, perhaps 13%

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By ohgoodgodno
18th Apr 2017 13:04

sure there's an opportunity to have some influence here, especially with labour promising to scrap MTD for those under the VAT threshold.

HOWEVER, there are a lot more factors involved in peoples decisions for who to vote for, so I wouldn't get the hopes up just yet

the big question is - is there a credible alternative party (or parties) to run the country, sadly I think the answer is probably not

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Replying to ohgoodgodno:
Maytuna
By DJKL
18th Apr 2017 15:09

Correct-on the basis that one is virtually as bad as the other, there comes a time to use one's vote to punish rather than reward.

In summary I have a choice as follows:

SNP-Incumbent, cannot see past independence, poor record delivering anything meaningful, divisive, annoying-will not get my vote unless hell freezes over.

Labour- Headed at Westminster by a hijacking of the party at grassroots, all the lessons of the 1980s forgotten, the odd (Tribune et al) familiar names now wormed back into the grassroots fold. The MPs are politically distant from these " party members" and these members are so distant from ordinary people whose vote they need it is unbelievable- in effect playing student politics with a national party, competence level,very low, can talk a great life for everyone but can deliver hee haw.

Conservatives- Had some sort of reputation for economic competence, however really only as good as their reflected brilliance beside an opposition which is itself woeful. Full of back stabbing , self interested, mantra chanting , glass half full, idiots-my natural party of choice but not at present. If one of them can explain a properly developed position for how Northern Ireland will deal with Eire on an open border basis, that is acceptable to the EU, I will be amazed.

UKIP- Well what does one say, I know one candidate who stood up here for them, friend of my son, nice chap, believes in self choice/ individual liberty but even he has decided to drop his membership, they are a pretty distasteful bunch, more ideology with a dressing of patriotism- should be good chums with the Nats in that regard but of course those with "beliefs" seldom get on with others with "beliefs"

Liberals- Well, what does one say, probably all pleasant enough at a social event, but pretty ineffectual, the odd bit of common sense and given the opposition they face should do much better, but lack of focus, energy, drive leaves them looking like that chap who sits in meetings and never annoys anyone but nobody believes he can really deliver anything.

So, on the basis they are all a bunch of useless ******* it boils down to kicking them where it hurts, the ballot, the thought of a rampant Conservative party with the hard right frothing at the mouth and unfettered with a large majority is horrifying, the alternatives are not great but right now, today, I would likely, on balance, see something in trying (likely in vain) to vote in a few Libs meantime whilst we await Labour either fracturing, so a more rational centre party can be created , or worst case creaking on in limp home mode.

So, it appears the only way to get a decent centre party is destroy the current Labour party and hope something takes root instead, meantime may as well try to get something decent out of the shambles- the death of MTD.

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Replying to DJKL:
RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Apr 2017 15:33

My choices are

a. Vote Labour and get a Labour MP.

b. Vote for someone else and get a Labour MP.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Maytuna
By DJKL
18th Apr 2017 15:43

Henry Ford would approve.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
18th Apr 2017 15:46

I am in a very very very Blue area. So Blue they don't even bother to come round or leaflet.

Which is a relief having previously lived in a marginal constituency which was awful, especially during the "door to door" time.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By janefg
21st Apr 2017 11:44

My choices are the same except substitute Conservative for Labour - the local MP has been Conservative for over 100 years!

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Replying to janefg:
RLI
By lionofludesch
21st Apr 2017 12:03

janefg wrote:

My choices are the same except substitute Conservative for Labour - the local MP has been Conservative for over 100 years!

Surely he needs to retire !!

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Morph
By kevinringer
24th Apr 2017 13:33

[quote=lionofludesch

Surely he needs to retire !!

[/quote]
That is age discrimination. You should be permitted to sleep in the House of Commons no matter how old you are.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By KateR
24th Apr 2017 15:09

Mine is even worse. Vote for anyone and get a Tory.

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Replying to DJKL:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
18th Apr 2017 15:41

@DKL that about sums up my view on political parties.

Dislike the lot of them, but would like to see a centrist coalition which means not lurching to extremes.

However you forget the Greens - doesn't everyone.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
Maytuna
By DJKL
18th Apr 2017 15:48

Sorry, Patrick Harvey during the Indy ref debates was enough to put me off for life.

I also recently read vast amounts of blurb on the COP21 Paris discussions (long story why, daughter studies Sustainable Development at University, at least I vaguely understand what she now says)

Whilst I had always thought Auditing and Company Law were the most tedious areas of thought I was mistaken.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Apr 2017 13:37

I missed the news on the day the Monster Raving Loony Party took over the Tories.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Apr 2017 14:56

The timing couldn't be worse, with The Blame Game about to start a new series this week.

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rebecca cave
By Rebecca Cave
18th Apr 2017 15:04

I agree this is a good opportunity to write to clients to tell them about MTD - you could mention the 6 submissions per year, and whose idea it was.

Also write to all political parties asking for their views on the MTD project.

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Replying to Rebecca Cave:
Maytuna
By DJKL
18th Apr 2017 15:17

I have already done the Nats and Conservatives to date.

Local Liberals will likely engage in discussion as I had a fairly reasonable e mail conversation with them in 2005 re tax (CGT on pregnant gains on death rather than IHT) and certainly, back then, they would debate in an rational manner.

Will also try Labour up here to see where they really stand and whether they can discuss rather than bleat party mantra.

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By mrme89
18th Apr 2017 15:15

I seem to be in the minority, but I don't think we should be pushing any particular political party towards clients.

I think MTD is an awful idea, but I won't be giving any political bias to clients. Imagine, for example (a poor example, granted), if you persuaded a tech business to vote for a party that scrapped MTD and they also scrapped R&D tax credits that the firm had previously utilised. The finger would be firmly pointed at you.

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Replying to mrme89:
Maytuna
By DJKL
18th Apr 2017 15:25

A very valid point, I do not think one should push any particular party I think one should merely detail what the current government has to date proposed, the likely impact on the client, and leave it at that, something like,

" we expect the proposals, as current formulated, will cost in direct additional fees an additional £xxx to £yyy per year, the administrative burden likely falling most heavily on those of our clients not already maintaining quarterly records etc etc etc. In certain cases clients will require to embrace more structured digital recod keeping processes and procedures........"

"clients may wish to consider, in light of these proposals, whether or not the government is worthy of the support of the SME sector at the polls"

Such a communication needs to be vague as the exact requirements of MTD still carry a pretty vague outline.

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Replying to DJKL:
Maytuna
By DJKL
18th Apr 2017 15:28

Unbelievable, typing a £ symbol followed by three X symbols, to denote a lower range figure, gets censored to £[***]

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Replying to DJKL:
By Tom Herbert
18th Apr 2017 16:57

My apologies DJKL - we're still working through the swear filter and the odd thing still gets caught. I've fixed that for you now.

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Replying to TomHerbert:
Maytuna
By DJKL
18th Apr 2017 20:47

Don't worry, have managed the odd word past the filter when it possibly ought to have been sanitised.

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Tornado
By Tornado
18th Apr 2017 16:00

I think this has been brewing for a little while and fits in with the email circular from Sir Patrick McLoughlin MP (Conservative Party Chairman) a couple of weeks ago telling that "We have a Plan" and asking for donations to the Conservative Party.

I emailed back and said that I would be happy to contribute to their finds when I see that they start acting in my interests again, particularly with respect to MTD.

I received a bland reply which annoyed me a bit so I wrote back in stronger terms regarding MTD and I have not received any reply.

It all makes sense now, there must have been a General Election planned for some time.

I have been totting up the cost to me of the unproductive time it will cost me to convert to MTD and I am up to £30,000 at the moment and that does not include the cost of additional mandatory software. This is significant stuff and if the Conservatives want any chance of getting a vote from me, they will have to seriously consider scrapping MTD or at least phasing it in voluntarily over a long period of time.

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By leon0001
18th Apr 2017 16:28

Will the legislation for MTD be enacted before Parliament is dissolved in 2 weeks from now?

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By Elvis11
18th Apr 2017 16:45

"Does a snap election give accountants leverage?"

No it doesn't. It means that MTD will almost inevitably now go ahead without significant change.
There is no way that MTD will be an issue in this campaign. It will be about Brexit and what a shambles Corbyn and the Labour party are.
We have already notified all our clients and urged them to contact their Members of Parliament. We have provided a suitably worded draft letter to those clients who wanted one. Although clients are almost exclusively against the MTD proposals, I think we'll be lucky if any more than 5% will actually complain.
If the Parliament had run full term to 2020, the situation might have been different. By then the impact of MTD would have been felt and it would have become a big issue for those affected.
Unfortunately this early election will mean MTD will now become a horrible reality. Bad news.

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Replying to Elvis11:
Maytuna
By DJKL
18th Apr 2017 16:58

Not sure getting anything through the Lords will be possible in that timeframe, how many legislative weeks do they have left before they hit the campaign trail?

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Replying to DJKL:
Maytuna
By DJKL
18th Apr 2017 17:03

Looks like dissolved 3rd May, if link is correct, so 10/11 working days left.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Next_United_Kingdom_general_election

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By North East Accountant
21st Apr 2017 10:35

The election gives accountants no leverage as MTD is a done deal.

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
22nd Apr 2017 17:05

Are you suggesting we encourage clients to vote for Labour as they will drop MTD.

They are also proposing a minimum wage of £10 which is a nice idea in principal but how are small business going to manage to pay this 33% increase in salary in pubs cafes etc. That will be the end to the village pub.
Ramping wages up like this will create inflation, increased interest rates etc
Labour and the economy just don't go together.

I live a massive labour majority so my vote will not really matter but I don't get why local authority councillors have to have a political alliance if they are only deal with a town or a city.

We need all the Labour councils out in The North as they get punished with poor settlements from central government so just fleece the population at every turn.

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Replying to Glennzy:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Apr 2017 17:13

Glennzy wrote:

We need all the Labour councils out in The North as they get punished with poor settlements from central government so just fleece the population at every turn.

Not going to happen.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
22nd Apr 2017 17:23

Unfortunately I agree, but if you don't have dreams there is no reason to get up in the morning.

First one I would love to see out is Nick Forbes head of Newcastle council he is a utter xxxx end.

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Replying to Glennzy:
Maytuna
By DJKL
22nd Apr 2017 17:48

I am more saying make them think they will lose votes, what someone actually votes may well be different.

Be aware the Conservatives do not appear to be for changing if my response from Ruth's office was anything to go on, they have swallowed the lie MTD means more accurate record keeping and closes the tax gap, despite the lack of evidence.

If I had the choice to spend the sorts of sums they are spending I would set up the digital links to be used re submissions (not quarterly except vat) and pre population and spend the rest of the money beefing up the shadow economy teams-have always thought that recruiting those with a practice background to rove around and drive
the detail in enquiries , inspect the records, would reap rewards.

My opinion of HMRC staff re actual knowledge of how accounts are compiled is pretty low, most have theory but no practice.

I would even consider working the other side/taxpayer education myself (I know , heresy) when I want to slow down a bit, but only in that sort of role, let the HMRC staff open enquiries, deal with requisite notifications etc,
but have attached practice background accountants to break the records.

MTD is in my opinion likely workable as an aid to annual tax declarations, I also have no issue re pre populating accounts with data. (though do fear the accuracy). What I cannot stomach is the quarterly reporting need when no real argument has been made as to how telling them one has written up one's books quarterly improves accounting accuracy, nor do I see why records must be maintained in digital form.

As the Conservatives extol market forces (or so they imply) if digital record keeping does become so time saving and efficient for taxpayers most will embrace it of their own free will, they should trust in market forces here, have the platform and over time "if you build it he will come".

If they will just back off on these two points most of my objection goes.

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Replying to DJKL:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Apr 2017 17:57

DJKL wrote:

Be aware the Conservatives do not appear to be for changing if my response from Ruth's office was anything to go on, they have swallowed the lie MTD means more accurate record keeping and closes the tax gap, despite the lack of evidence.

Ach - politicians are gullible and useless. She wouldn't even get a cake iced in Newtownabbey.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Maytuna
By DJKL
22nd Apr 2017 18:26

I don't mind Ruth, she is Torylite; quite frankly any other version just would not sell up here.

What they ought to do is break with the UK party and more properly rebrand as a distinct party-on some issues sure, vote with the others, but not be under the party whip-have autonomy and stop following the rest like sheep.

There is a place in Scotland for a slightly right of centre party but they are currently tainted by association.

Catch is separation right now would not be clever re Scottish Independence, they have sort of missed the boat re appropriate timing.

There are still parts of Scotland where if you want to send someone swivel eyed and possessed, slaver dripping from their jowls, you just need to say Maggie or Thatcher; my brother in law is a case in point, if her name crosses the Sunday dinner table he looks like he is having a fit and will expire at any moment.

Edit: a pavlovian reaction

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Replying to DJKL:
RLI
By lionofludesch
23rd Apr 2017 17:22

DJKL wrote:

I don't mind Ruth, she is Torylite; quite frankly any other version just would not sell up here.

Yes, she made a decent impression when Gary Tank Commander interviewed her last year. Nicola was plain dull and Kezia came across as someone you wouldn't mind going out for a drink with but maybe not running your country. The UKIP guy was weird - the EU are holding back the development of toasters ? (Well done, Gary, by the way - did we see Andrew Marr or David Dimbleby extracting that nugget of information?) and the Greens and LibDems could see they weren't winners.

Link to the GTC documentary - well worth the time invested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzp94ZfBMJs

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Replying to DJKL:
RLI
By lionofludesch
23rd Apr 2017 10:13

DJKL wrote:

There are still parts of Scotland where if you want to send someone swivel eyed and possessed, slaver dripping from their jowls, you just need to say Maggie or Thatcher; my brother in law is a case in point, if her name crosses the Sunday dinner table he looks like he is having a fit and will expire at any moment.

Pretty much the same in these parts - along with the words "South Yorkshire Police".

My father in law, a mild mannered man from East Belfast, always said that an ability to attract death threats from both sides of the sectarian divide was a skill that he was surprised anyone should wish to acquire.

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By pauljohnston
23rd Apr 2017 17:07

MTD is here to stay and I believe so will the keeping of digital records.
I think there may be leverage in reducing the number of submissions for those under VAT threshold and unincorporated. Maybe 1 x 6 monthly and the final simalar to the data in the current SA return.
MTD makes sense but for small businesses it is a big burden and I do wonder whether cash jobs will be on the rise.

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Replying to pauljohnston:
RLI
By lionofludesch
23rd Apr 2017 17:13

pauljohnston wrote:

MTD makes sense but for small businesses it is a big burden and I do wonder whether cash jobs will be on the rise.


MTD makes sense for anyone not standing the cost.

As the Commons Committee itself said, anyone can have digital record keeping already. If it benefited their business, they'd already be keeping digital records.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Maytuna
By DJKL
23rd Apr 2017 17:20

Politician; someone who spends other people's money and then complains there is not enough.

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Replying to DJKL:
RLI
By lionofludesch
23rd Apr 2017 17:30

True, true, how true, as Chinny Cooper used to say.

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