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Short notice hmrc survey

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This won't be of interest or relevance to most here but a few might want to comment.

Dear Developer,
We recognise the concerns that have been raised with regards to the MTD ITSA Sandbox environment. We are keen to work closely with you to improve. While we cannot commit to detail at this stage, we are asking you to volunteer to work with us over the coming weeks to identify the improvements needed, prioritise
them and work together to address them.

I have had some feedback already about quality of documentation, use of consistent terminology, support testing outcome with better customer personas, profiles, and data (to name but a few).
Even if you are unable to volunteer to be part of this working group, we would like to ask you to share any feedback, or specific areas you would like to see addressed.

Please email [email protected] with names and/or feedback by 26th May and my team, through SDST, will set up a virtual call aiming for end of May / early June, to engage in the detail and take forward change.

I intend to respond. Unfortunately, I work full-time and MTDITSA is a hobby and I'm unlikely to be able to join any working group. While I'm able to comment on the API, the documentation, and the problems trying to develop anything that faces HMRC, and can anticipate some of the issues that will come up after this is live, my knowledge of tax and accounting is basic and I only have practical experience of one small corner of what MTDITSA will cover.

If MTDITSA ever happens, and if I ever manage to get something finished and approved (one of my frustrations is that I had something basically working and I was working on presentation rather than API functionality but so much has changed that I no longer have anything close to working) then it will be an open-source spreadsheet based solution but unsupported and with no SLA and so not aimed at accountants.

Replies (9)

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By MCV71
21st May 2022 19:13

Sounds like it's exactly where we thought it was. In a mess.

Thanks (1)
By Hugo Fair
21st May 2022 19:21

I nearly choked when I read "Unfortunately, I work full-time and MTDITSA is a hobby" ... because I thought it was a continuation of the HMRC email being quoted. It would have explained a lot if it had been!

Anyway, thanks for the insight into the turmoil within HMRC on this project ... although to be fair the email indicates their awareness of the status (and if SDST are involved then my hopes are just a little bit higher).

And I feel for you suffering from the all too foreseeable impact of the 'agile approach' imposed ... indeed it's the single biggest reason why I too still have no confidence of an end-point where working software & specifications come together in harmony.

Thanks (1)
By DKB-Sheffield
21st May 2022 19:59

I particularly like this bit...

"we are asking you to volunteer to work with us over the coming weeks to identify the improvements needed, prioritise them and work together to address them."

I always consider volunteering as being something done of one's own free will, for the benefit of one (or more), who would otherwise be (somewhat) underpriviledged (financial or otherwise) without. Basically, doing something for the greater good.

- Volunteering for a youth group encourages social interaction that kids, were it not for the group, would not otherwise receive - thus allowing the 'group' to spend on materials (etc.) that will further their 'enrichment criteria'
- Volunteering for a charity fundraising event will raise money for the charity's purpose, thus allowing charitable funds to be diverted to that purpose, as opposed to paying fundraising 'specialists'
- Volunteering to drive the elderly to a luncheon club to enable social interaction - allowing organisers to put more money into the lunch and activities, without them, or the elderly having to pay for transport
- Volunteering at a food bank......

Volunteering to help a Gvt Dept, for a few weeks (!), with (apparently unlimited) funds, to implement a project, that has stuttered and stalled does not IMHO fulfil my criteria of 'benefit for the greater good'.

It would be easy to say "the software providers will benefit the most from MTD" (and I have said so much on a regular basis). However, where the larger players will benefit, the smaller providers... such as the OP building something 'OpenSource', or the small developer who is already years behind on receiving the much-promised income due to MTD delays, do not have Xero's (et al) budget to enable 'voluteering'. Alas, it is the smaller developers who - perhaps - have the most to bring to the table, that will be unlikely/ unable to 'volunteer'!

Thanks (2)
By NotAnAccountant2
22nd May 2022 07:05

One of the things I enjoy about doing this is thinking about corner cases and how to handle them (which mostly means finesse them). One of the things that worries me is what real world corner cases am I missing.

The one that's been bugging me recently (no need to explain how it works unless you want to) is where a mortgage is secured on a different property with different ownership proportions.

Hypothetical - rental property, no mortgage, brought into business @ 100K, 50/50 ownership H&W. Mortgage secures 100K and is used to buy a second BTL at 90/10 ownership.

Option 1. Mtge interest allocated 50/50
Option 2. Mtge interest allocated 90/10
Option 3. Interest on 50K for 90% owner, on 10K for 10% owner, interest on 40K disallowed

Turn it around - current property 90/10, new property 50/50.

Does it change things if the mortgage is raised on the home?

(My current spreadsheet won't work if it is 3 other than by fudging which makes me think I need to have a way to assign things to just one owner and not assume everything follows the underlying property percentages)

Jointly owned property feels like a minefield for MTD record keeping other than the very simple cases. But multiple properties in different ownerships doesn't seem that uncommon - the cases I've come across are family members who club together. It's easy to come up with theoretical examples that 'break' MTD record keeping on any sane basis.

How does it usually work where A&B are joint owners but have different accountants - does one accountant trust the figures from the other one or does each insist on doing it from scratch?

Thanks (0)
Replying to NotAnAccountant2:
By Calculatorboy
23rd May 2022 06:41

It shouldn't matter where the security is , key is where funds are applied

Thanks (1)
Replying to NotAnAccountant2:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
23rd May 2022 08:38

Quite. The second you get into some real life scenarios it quickly descends into an even bigger farce than normally.

Similarly I have quite a number of "day job" academics who have 'other' incomes on the side which get dragged into this nonsense. Some are also landlords too so two returns a quarter to report nothing much in the bigger scheme of things.

Then of course are all the ebay traders who don't trouble their personal allowance. The list is endless.

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By johnhemming
22nd May 2022 18:24

This is something I have been asking for. I would like the Sandbox to properly enable testing of tax calculations so that subtle errors can be identified and fixed without a load of stress.

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Replying to johnhemming:
By NotAnAccountant2
22nd May 2022 18:33

Agreed, I cannot believe that the sandbox isn't fully functional. There are difficulties - in particular how to simulate the passing of time - but even if we assume the HMRC calculations will be 'correct', knowing how best to present that to a user depends very much on how HMRC intend to guess future quarters.

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Replying to johnhemming:
By Hugo Fair
23rd May 2022 09:14

I know exactly what you mean ... although I could argue that a bit *more* stress is what is needed!
Just that should be as part of stress-testing the user spec (inasmuch as one exists), not applied indirectly to the developers (and ultimately to the users) after it enters the live environment.
Is there any sign of realisation in senior corridors yet that 'agile' (if it has any beneficial relevance) is applicable to developing prototypes not the initial spec?

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