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Please join the queue for cloud-cuckoo land ...

Yep, it's HMRC being helpful with that pesky MTD ITSA again

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Apologies in advance if this is old news to those who bother ploughing through HMRC's bi-monthly Agent Update and have read last week's copy, but I took a few days off (medical rather than holiday) and so have only just had the pleasure of catching-up with its articles - including:

"Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment (MTD ITSA ) — Agents can sign-up customers in advance of April 2023

"It has been confirmed that a bulk sign-up facility for MTD ITSA will not be possible due to several factors including each individual customer having different details to be input.  It is recognised that data will need to be input during the sign up process for each customer.  It is accepted that this could be time consuming if all this had to be done at once, especially if it coincided with other peak demands such as the tax year end or VAT filing for example.

"Following discussion with agents, HMRC is working to deploy a solution which will help flatten this workload.  Agents will be able to sign up mandated MTD ITSA
customers from 6 April 2022.  This will not activate MTD obligations, but will give agents the opportunity to spread the load of sign-up work across a 12-month  period."

 

Am I the only person that can hardly believe my luck and is filled with gratitude at this solicitous behaviour?

I presume that it would be churlish of me to assume there is a correlation between this 'solution' and the suggestion that it will only work if agents start to transfer clients across from the earliest possible date (6 April 2022) - as HMRC's systems can't cope with the load otherwise (although "The back-end process is being worked on and further information will be issued", so that's alright then)?

Or indeed to wonder from where these previously unused hours are to be found by each agent (so that we can 'complete the sign-up process' for each client, one at a time, every month for a year)?

Replies (28)

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By GHarr497688
21st Aug 2021 15:48

Accountants seem to now be unpaid employees of HMRC !
I believe that when 4.8 million taxpayers start to call HMRC because all the Accountant either won't do HMRC's dirty work or have retired the tax system will fail. Given that MTD for VAT hasn't worked fully and HMRC couldn't deal with call volumes how will MTDITSA pan out. Hopefully I will be retired by 2023 !

Thanks (6)
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By Leywood
21st Aug 2021 16:31

I wonder who these agents are who HMRC have supposedly spoken to.

Probably one agent, clearly a 'yes man' type.

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Replying to Leywood:
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By Hugo Fair
21st Aug 2021 17:07

Yes, I wondered about that phrase ... but have seen it too many times before (on other 'projects') to believe it has to be rooted in fact.
On one famous occasion when I queried the use of a similar phrase in a response to a parliamentary committee, the HMRC person looked at me in (mock) astonishment and said "But we talked about this over a month ago" ... referring to a quick chat we'd had down the pub at the end of one of those long (pre-Covid) conference days!

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Replying to Leywood:
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By GHarr497688
21st Aug 2021 18:26

HMRC only have to get two people to agree and they hail the new system the best thing ever. I mean paying a survey company to state how good you are is ridiculous. They want more surveys so they are bound to get the right answers. If HMRC are paying the bill they are not truly independent !

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By Paul Crowley
21st Aug 2021 18:50

So
HMRC incapable of transfering data from system 1 to system 2
No surprise
Exactly the same issue with MTD VAT
Unable to transfer Direct debits from system 1 to systen 2
Then, sending an email to say that the reason is that they do not hold an email address
and and and the banks told us to do it
Pathetic
HMRC and IT is a joke

Thanks (6)
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By SXGuy
21st Aug 2021 19:01

Almost tempted to not bother until April 23 and watch the sht storm unfold.

They should have found a way to transfer them automatically. Not really my problem.

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Replying to SXGuy:
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By ClaireR75
21st Aug 2021 23:06

Totally agree and approach I'm considering :)

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Replying to SXGuy:
Morph
By kevinringer
24th Aug 2021 12:47

When SA started HMRC managed to shift everyone over, and agent authorisation too. If they could do it 25 years ago, they can do it today too. Where there's a will (=funding) there is a way.

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Replying to kevinringer:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
24th Aug 2021 13:37

Sorry- the quality of the HMRC staff back then and their strength in depth re staff who were properly trained re tax is a world apart from today. Preston North End I think were the first team to ever win the double, do you fancy their chances these days?

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By DKB-Sheffield
21st Aug 2021 19:20

I particularly 'like'/ have concerns about...

Hugo Fair wrote:

"It has been confirmed that a bulk sign-up facility for MTD ITSA will not be possible due to several factors including each individual customer having different details to be input.  It is recognised that data will need to be input during the sign up process for each customer. 

What [new] information is required that would not already be known from the 2021/22 SATR? If there is new information required, wouldn't it be possible to modify the 2021/22 SATR to capture it? Is there no way the developers at HMRC can work on, what one would have thought would be, a relatively simple fix before April 2023?

What seems to be most concerning is that we're nowhere near the "go live" date, and already we're being told of the limitations of a system that hasn't been fully developed!

If my developer clients told their 'customers' (by which I mean REAL customers, not taxpayers) they could produce a solution but, it wouldn't actually work per the 'spec', their customer would (rightly) up sticks and go to another developer! They (the customer) certainly wouldn't tell their staff that they'd need to put in (unpaid) overtime to make up for the developer's inadequacies but, out of pure kindness and goodwill, would allow them to spread that overtime over 12 months!

Excuses, excuses, and we're not even near the start line!

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By johnhemming
21st Aug 2021 19:27

It isn't obvious what they mean from this, but I would hazard a guess that the reason is that each self-employed person has to have a record for each self-employment that they have. Some self-employed people have more than one business. Hence they will need more data and there is a text description for the self-employment. Additionally the self employments need financial years.

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Replying to johnhemming:
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By DKB-Sheffield
21st Aug 2021 19:43

I understand your point.

However, SA103 completed for each sole trade, SA104 completed for each partnership trade... all with text descriptions, all with financial years stated etc.

HMRC are given the information annually. If they choose not to store it, or don't have the ability to retrieve it, that's not the same as requiring new information... is it?

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Replying to DKB-Sheffield:
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By johnhemming
21st Aug 2021 20:09

I don't know the technical background to this, but I do know what information is needed for ITSA.

There is a question, of course, as to whether it would be best to have what is likely to be to some extent inaccurate information typed in or in some other way processed by HMRC or put in by the taxpayer or their agent.

However, I do not have enough information to be certain as to what HMRC are proposing or whether that is the best way to deal with the issue or not.

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Replying to johnhemming:
By SteveHa
23rd Aug 2021 10:16

johnhemming wrote:

I don't know the technical background to this, but I do know what information is needed for ITSA.

With respect, John, you know what information that HMRC say is needed for ITSA, and not what is actually needed.

You have always been objective, but you are starting to sound like an apologist for HMRC.

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Replying to SteveHa:
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By johnhemming
24th Aug 2021 15:58

I don't know all the details behind this. Thinking a bit more there are business records created within HMRC's systems for each self-employment, a UK property business, a foreign property business, a property business within the EEA which is fhl and fhl in the UK.

I have in the past written data conversion software for solicitors and stockbrokers. Hence I know a lot about complicated conversions.

I don't know whether the approach of having people poke their details into the system from scratch or trying to prepopulate it with partial data that HMRC already have is the best option.

However, I would suggest that
a) There would be a need to check the data that HMRC pre-populated was right.
b) Systemically they probably don't have everything that is needed already in a database. (probably not analysed in sufficient detail)
c) Defining the income sources for any one tax payer is not a massive task.

Hence were I to be making the decision as to what approach to adopt I could see that having people type it in again is not necessarily the wrong answer.

I accept that my experience in having being involved in running large public authorities as well as medium sized private companies gives me a different approach. I would not myself describe that as being an apologist, however.

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Replying to DKB-Sheffield:
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By Not Anonymous
22nd Aug 2021 11:35

All of which is (or should be) held on the current Self Assessment platform.

https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/self-assessment-manual/sam101250

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By Duggimon
23rd Aug 2021 09:42

I think we have a moral obligation to coordinate up and down the country and register everyone eligible on 6 April 2023 and see what happens to the system.

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By bernard michael
23rd Aug 2021 10:02

Duggimon wrote:

I think we have a moral obligation to coordinate up and down the country and register everyone eligible on 6 April 2023 and see what happens to the system.


.....and when it crashes who's going to have to sort out the mess?? Us !!
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paddle steamer
By DJKL
23rd Aug 2021 10:41

You ask where the extra hours are to come from but the answer is in your own post, taking days off for medical purposes will just not be permitted under the new regime, think how may clients you would have been able to get sorted into their brave new world during these days of idleness you enjoyed.

Frankly you need to learn your place , you exist to serve HMRC so attend the two minute hate and channel your hatreds against the correct enemies of the people.

HMRC is watching you.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By Hugo Fair
23rd Aug 2021 13:19

Mea culpa ... although I was forbidden from using any technology from my hospital bed. :-)
1984 has been a long time coming ... but I can tell you it's not a comfortable place to be (sandwiched between the implacable demands & regulations of the NHS and HMRC behemoths)!

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
23rd Aug 2021 14:03

Retirement is the only option.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By johnjenkins
24th Aug 2021 10:53

I Disagree. If enough of us tell HMRC we are not complying with their silly games, then they will have no alternative but to drop the mandatory and quarterly up date bits. Perhaps it's time for HMRC to be retired?

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Replying to johnjenkins:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
24th Aug 2021 13:41

Doubt it, governments just roll over commonsense these days, objections are ignored, they merely listen to those who tell them what they want to hear. The idea that if enough people shouted nay the idea would be modified is really optimistic, at best you might buy a short delay.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By johnjenkins
24th Aug 2021 14:13

I think if all Accountants said that quarterly updates will not work and we didn't submit them, HMRC would have to have a rethink. Don't forget the GE in May 24 might make the Tories sit up and take notice.

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By Marlinman
24th Aug 2021 10:42

I'll wait until April 23 and see what taxfiler come up with before deciding what to do. On clients not digitally excluded, I'll probably get them to do their own quarterly submissions and just do the final one each year which is the only one which will matter for tax. That way, I'll still be able to go away on holiday whenever I like and not have to worry about clients getting figures to be before the quarterly deadlines.

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Replying to Marlinman:
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By lh3f9764bg1g
24th Aug 2021 15:10

The final one is the only one that will matter for Tax . . . . . initially.

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Morph
By kevinringer
24th Aug 2021 12:48

April 2022 I might start submitting my MTD-exemption applicaitons.

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Replying to kevinringer:
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By Paul Crowley
24th Aug 2021 16:41

I will be looking to be generous with exemption applications
So really prefer clients to make the claim
On a piece of paper
Of which I have a scanned copy
I only want to get involved if any are refused

Just remembered
I have one client with turnover of £70K who cannot write
Get the admin staff to deal with that one

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