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Old School v MTD

What if MTD makes things worse for a business

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Now that MTD seems to be in full swing and we have 650,000 Customers signed up with 10,000 more per day signing up not to mention Accountants getting their heads around the ASA etc etc . I wondered what you might do in my circumstances. I am finding the process of doing my own VAT through MTD longer than the old method and I would say, with not being totally used to the software after using the old system for 25 years , with  higher risk of error. Having never used a spreadsheet simnply because I was not forced too so thats not an option but using a mix of manual and computer records I have for 25 years safely and accurately completed my VAT return in the way I know best and in the interest of HMRC. Now I feel trapped in MTD unable to delegate my work to other staff , unable to control my debtors easily without me taking extra time , costs are much higher now than under the old system. Its made me think about many comments on Aweb from some who are clearly dealing with a certain type of client tech savvy or with staff who are on hand to help with MTD. We will then have another group who might be the smallest of business entities older , lacking in IT skills just above the VAT threshold who are really being put to a lot of trouble. Question : is their anyway out of MTD for those who joined up but through no fault of their own should have applied for exemption but would not have known they needed to be exempt until they tried  ?

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15th Jul 2019 12:05

Oh dear! I feel for you. The only way to answer this question is to try and see. It is not a position that I know of anyone else being in, but you have nothing to lose now. Start by writing the letter and take it from there. Set out clearly all the points that you have put in this post. HMRC are obliged to answer your letter and you will then (eventually) have a definitive answer.

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15th Jul 2019 12:57

Well, the answer is probably no, I'm afraid. If you're already in, you stay in - short of transferring your trade to a new company.

No harm in trying, though - and let us know how you get on.

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15th Jul 2019 13:07

Quote:
I wondered what you might do in my circumstances.

I would
- Learn how to do it myself (or get someone to teach me)
Failing that, I would
- Delegate
- Outsource to my accountant

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Having never used a spreadsheet..

I find that truly astonishing for someone in finance.

Quote:
Having never used a spreadsheet.. because I was not forced to

Is it not enough to want to keep up with the rest of the business world, rather than being “forced” to change? You’re clearly not such a dinosaur that you can’t use the internet. Bring yourself into the 1990s and learn how to use Excel.

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to paul.benny
16th Jul 2019 10:33

Have not and have no intention of ever using a spreadsheet.
Not held me back until now, time to go and visit all the places on my bucket list.

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to meadowsaw227
16th Jul 2019 11:44

Depending on age/attitudes will determine if spreadsheets are good or a bad thing. If the result are more accurate without a spreadsheet then surely why change the process ?

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to nodrogbir
16th Jul 2019 17:08

I suspect that many of us use spreadsheets without knowing we're using spreadsheets.

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to paul.benny
24th Jul 2019 13:46

I've been surprised how many of my clients have never used a spreadsheet: about 50% of them! One of them is the finance manager of a local business. He's been doing the finances for 30+ years yet he genuinely has never used one. He left school before spreadsheets were invented and has worked in the same business ever since so never encountered a spreadsheet. He downloaded Libre Office and spent over an hour trying to find out how to create a formula to deduct the VAT from Gross to arrive at Net. How long is it going to take him to grasp bridging software and linking it to his own spreadsheet? Tasks that are second nature to some of us are alien to many others. I've applied for exemption for his business. I await HMRC's decision.

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to kevinringer
24th Jul 2019 13:59

It is quite clear that there are difficulties both with cloud accounting and also with using spreadsheets (and the associated bridging software). That's why I wrote a cloud cashbook which is a really rigid bit of software that does not allow end users to change formulae.

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to kevinringer
24th Jul 2019 14:22

Quote:

I've been surprised how many of my clients have never used a spreadsheet: about 50% of them!

I'm not. I'm surprised it's as low as 50%.

If you're a bricklayer, why do you need a spreadsheet ?

I use them but I couldn't set one up.

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15th Jul 2019 13:32

Write to HMRC - bet you get an answer beginning:
"Dear customer"
That should tell you all you need to know about your chances.

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to memyself-eye
15th Jul 2019 17:34

Quote:

Write to HMRC - bet you get an answer ...

3 months later. They don’t open post for 2 months. Probably longer if it says MTD on it.

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15th Jul 2019 14:14

We have talked to many business owners like you who feel they do not have the skills to cope with Making Tax Digital for VAT. None have failed to submit their VAT returns using an Excel spreadsheet and our software, Easy MTD VAT (https://easymtdvat.com).

Making Tax Digital for VAT is here to stay so instead of fearing it, embrace it and you'll realise it isn't that bad. There may be a learning curve at the start (getting to grips with Excel and submitting your first VAT return using bridging software like ours) but once you're over those hurdles you won't look back.

If you can't get exemption from HMRC, please feel free to contact us as I'm certain we can help.

Good luck.

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15th Jul 2019 14:46

In answer to all such questions

What you are doing + BRIDGING SOFTWARE = an illusion of compliance from HMRC's POV.

Then its down to you having assessed the business case for compliance (and attended costs etc) vs the business case for non-compliance (and potential for penalties etc)

in general terms I alway think blind compliance with any new rule shows a lack of business acumen. You should comply with stuff that is quick, easy, and thing that are a large upheaval treat it like any other business decision and look at the potential costs and benefits.

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to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
15th Jul 2019 15:54

Genuinely one of the best points I have seen made on here.

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15th Jul 2019 14:59

Good luck with that. Please let AWEB know the results so we can use your methods

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19th Jul 2019 09:58

You could try and claim exeption by being in one of those groups that can. Religion, no internet access etc

You will have to look at the exemptions

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19th Jul 2019 10:21

I don't understand accountants who have not used spreadsheets - I got hold of VisiCalc c1981 and have not been without spreadsheets since. (When I was first in business the computers were using punch card and similar systems.) But MTD is not the same. I think all accountants should read 1984 again, and think where the future lies.

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