My father's favourite saying was 'Least said – soonest mended'. I am so glad that I didn’t waste too much time planning how and when I was going to tell clients about MTD. Of course the real reason I didn’t tell them was that I was too scared of frightening them.
I was convinced that some would leave me - the landlords for example. Of all clients they are the most computer savvy ones and I have a letting agent on my books who had been told by his association to gear his systems to submit quarterly returns on his client's income etc. I had only one landlord who would have been affected in July 2018 but I'd not told him (I didn’t want to ruin his summer).
I did have a plan though. I planned to get better software that would be able to cope (cloud based) plus a more upgraded type of practice management software. These I have done and even though MTD is deferred I am glad that the threat pushed me into action.
I also started to create a one page basic information sheet on MTD which I intended to give to clients when I met them this year to go over their accounts (the ones whom I see obviously). The others I was going to send the page at the same time as the accounts. Plus I was going to send out a separate newsletter and put onsite.
John Stone said he told his clients and is now having to go back and explain
..I didn’t tell so I don't need to explain anything (she says smugly!).
I always did wonder whether MTD would actually come to anything much because of the lack of interest from the media = hardly anything. Did they know something we didn’t?
One answer to the deferment could possibly be seen in John's (editor's) article 'Stripped Back MTD delayed until 2020' where he says:
'Reports from specialist accountants working in the sector suggest that significant numbers of freelance computer programmers have stopped working for HMRC because of the public sector IR35 rules that were introduced in April'
I worked on the new Beta RTI system, particularly the pages for viewing by agents (it was me who suggested the 'flag' for any payroll that had query - although I wanted the 'flag' on the front list of clients but no mind – it's there in some form). At the time I was told that HMRC had taken on a number of IT programmers to work on MTD. Many of those have obviously now left leaving HMRC with a problem.
But I would suggest that the real answer can be found here: 28 March 2017 - 'HMRC urged to undertake comprehensive pilot of Making Tax Digital as costs remain unclear'
... the House of Commons Treasury Committee is not best pleased about the way HMRC has calculated the cost to the economy of MTD.
Tornado says that MTD will appear at a later date in some form or another and we all know he is right. HMRC have spent too much on this system to let it go completely although that is what the government did with the NHS computer system that they spent millions on.
In my article 'MTD – HMRC has a dream' I ended the text with the comment: 'It is time to show HMRC that some facets of its dream will, in fact, be unworkable and as such be fantasy'.
As it stands HMRC's 'dream' has been reduced to dust and it serves you right David Gauke.
About Jennifer Adams
Jennifer Adams is Consulting Editor of AccountingWEB and is a professional business author specialising in corporate governance and taxation. She runs her own accounting and consultancy business with offices based in Surrey and Dorset.