BTCSoftware’s CEO Rob Ellis on collaboration with HMRC

31st Aug 2021
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Rob Ellis takes over the blog to share information on our work with HMRC.

Rob Ellis quote on collaboration with HMRC I’m always happy when I hear HMRC describe BTCSoftware us a “critical friend”

BTCSoftware’s collaboration with HMRC began over 20 years ago

We started our collaborative relationship with HMRC in 1999 when development started on our first Corporation Tax software. At the start, we worked with HMRC on our CT600 replica forms each year but that soon changed when the online filing of CT600 returns was introduced in 2006.

The HMRC Software Development Support Team (SDSTeam) have always been a massive help. Acting as a bridge between the HMRC Business Units and the software developer community can sometimes be a difficult task, especially when things don’t go quite as planned. But at BTCSoftware we’ve always taken the view that we are not here to “bash HMRC” and we prioritise working with the various teams at HMRC to achieve the best possible outcome for our customers.

I and the company have the utmost respect for the people we work with at HMRC and I always feel that is reciprocated too. This positive working relationship is why we have kept at the forefront of HMRC’s initiatives, from Making Tax Digital to the Self-Assessment pre-population API, plus a couple of other things we are currently working on that we aren’t allowed to talk about in detail (may have said too much already there!)


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The introduction of the SA pre-population API was a great example of how this works for us. I am very proud to say that we were the first software company to have this working in production. This was all down to the flexible way we were prepared to work with HMRC on this project, and the fact that my co-founder, Ian Katté, is a practising tax agent which gives BTCSoftware great insight into how the functionality works in the real world.

Our collaboration also means that on occasions we’ve needed to lean on HMRC for help, whilst these have thankfully been few and far between, the teams at HMRC have been exceptional in the support we have received to reach positive conclusions.

The collaboration in 2021

At the moment we’re collaborating with HMRC on their project to launch MTD for Self Assessment. We’ve been part of the Making Tax Digital programme since the day it was announced by George Osbourne back in March 2015. I think it’s fair to say the initial announcement was a surprise to many, and it’s obviously changed a lot over the years, but I believe it’s here to stay as HMRC continue with the digital transformation project.

Collaborating into the future

The software developer’s dream for the future is one that features no major changes!

I know some people believe the software developers are the big force behind Making Tax Digital but I can assure you that these big changes mean a lot of work behind the scenes for BTCSoftware. We are continually developing in line with HMRC’s plans and will always work to provide our customers with cost-effective solutions, but MTD certainly wasn’t something we wanted simply to boost our income!

On a more serious note, we understand that HMRC has to make changes every year. Sometimes those changes, however small, can add serious complications. My wish for the future would be to see a genuine simplification of the whole tax system, something that MTD for Income Tax Self Assessment doesn’t look like it’s going to deliver yet. Basis period reform is a start, but I think that needs to be in place before the mandation of MTD for ITSA in April 2023 and not in conjunction with the MTD launch as is the current plan.

What the collaboration means to us

In conclusion, I am proud of the relationship BTCSoftware has with HMRC. It takes a long time to get the level of understanding we have with each other and is why I’m always happy when I hear HMRC describe BTCSoftware as a “critical friend” - someone HMRC can always turn to for an honest and constructive opinion, and can always ask for help be it with a simple survey, or with a brand new initiative within the software we build.

Get in touch

Our New Business team is available on 0345 241 5030, or request your demo and trial of BTCSoftware.