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How will ‘Making Tax Digital’ affect our firm?

30th Jan 2017
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To make sure MyFirmsApp is in a position to answer questions such as this and deliver solutions to the challenges you face, we keep in regular contact with HMRC and are in a continuous process of updating and modifying the App behind the scenes, to make sure it is well placed to support your firm in these changing times.

This is a brief update regarding the current position following our recent participation in a software developers’ catch-up at HMRC’s facilities in Shipley, West Yorkshire and an overview of what our tech team is currently working on.

Where are we right now?

As we edge closer and closer towards the launch of Making Tax Digital (MTD), it’s clear to see that the future for tax is digital. There may be debate regarding when exactly that ‘future’ is, but it’s coming. For the most part this is a good development, and handled in the right way would mean great things for the industry.

The event in December covered a great deal of material, but gave useful insight into many areas of work that are already underway.

As a quick summary, some of the key takeaways from this event were:

  1. Engagement has been low from both agents and businesses
  2. Nudges functionality will allow HMRC to provide feedback when something doesn’t look ‘quite right’
  3. Storyboards of the key relationships are being finalised, to highlight the ways in which interactions will occur
  4. Subscription and Registration API’s will change and assist the way in which your firm, and your clients make use of and consume HMRC services such as self-assessment

By no means is this an exhaustive list, but I’m always happy to discuss our findings with customers at any time. Feel free to give me a call, or drop me an email.

Our frequent interactions with HMRC have been valuable, with this session being no different. These events give us an opportunity to make sure questions are asked on behalf of our customers, and any challenges we see, are discussed, there and then.

It’s certainly something I feel agents need more of.

You’re not alone – everybody has questions, and nobody has all the answers

At least one area has remained consistent throughout the MTD consultations, reviews, events, conference calls, meetings and press releases and that is: the level of mystery and confusion. In fact, from my own experience, this is something that is felt across all stakeholders involved, from software developers, through to you, at the sharp end.

Throw into the mix, the wave of ever expanding content, highlighting the good the bad and the ugly aspects of MTD, and you have a seriously difficult topic to stay on top of.

When asked for his thoughts, ICPA chairman Tony Margaritelli said:

“The MTD proposals as they stand have been the subject of much criticism including from the Treasury Committee, who have focused on the timescales proposed, the possible exemptions, the lack of publicity and clarity, the supposed benefits and the associated costs. 

Whatever the HMRC response to the consultations, the digital agenda is being backed by a massive £1.3b investment so it will not be going away. It will be down to Accountants to make it work for their clients and I think an App will play a large part in delivering this.”

What’s next, and what are we doing?

Our next interaction with HMRC takes place on Monday the 30th of January. The hope is that further clarity will be provided, and I am optimistic – the last conference call with HMRC and software developers, as well as the event in December certainly helped to provide a sense of direction and understanding – but there is more to be done.

The much-anticipated initial consultation process results are expected by the 31st of January. This means that 2017 will be the year when most accountants will need to start giving MTD serious attention.

As a business, we have invested significantly in educating the profession, ensuring our own team remain on the cutting edge of the changes and building the future runway of the App.

As a result our team are hard at work focussing on the functionality that will enable the digital collection of the key records you require. This means improving our receipt and income management tool set, to bring both the experience and functionality up to the level you need, to work with MTD. On-going adjustments to our mileage tracker (following on from our background tracking update) will also deliver significant performance and functionality improvements.

One exciting upcoming adjustment includes the ability to track invoices by simply taking a photo, entering summary data and processing in much the same way as you currently process cash based income and receipts.

Strengthening our toolset to become the go-to solution for your customers to provide you with the day-to-day records required is the number one priority for our developers.

In summary

There has never been a better time to own an App for your firm. Protecting your brand, your customers and ultimately handling challenges such as MTD are easier than ever and it’s an exciting time.

By providing your clients with an app free of charge they are able to access all the information they need in one single App, on the go, 24/7. All of which will help you to maintain strong customer relationships and maintain trusted advisor status.

Despite the high level of uncertainty surrounding MTD, we are ready as ever to respond to the upcoming changes and are happy to discuss any queries our clients may have.

We hope to speak with you soon!

Interesting Reading

  1. MTD Consultation Document. (HMRC)
  2. Practice Excellence Live: Making Tax Digital. (AccountingWEB)
  3. MTD: IRIS urges HMRC to engage more. (AccountingWEB)
  4. Without sufficient care MTD could be a disaster. (AccountingWEB)


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