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Photo from Accountex North Summit - September 2021, Verna Gellvear of HMRC

MTD remained high on the agenda at Accountex North


Accountex North returned to Manchester this week after the pandemic hit pause on exhibitions last year. AccountingWEB visited the Cottonopolis to eavesdrop on the latest MTD ITSA rumbles.

23rd Sep 2021
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The reopening of live events that started with the Digital Accountancy Show continued apace with the Accountex North Summit, held over two days in the Central Manchester Convention Centre. 

Accountants making the trip along the M60 had the choice to mingle with exhibitors and listen to presentations on either Monday or Tuesday, with many also using the event as a chance to catch up with old friends and to meet new lockdown friends without a mute button in sight.  

With the exhibition doors back open, the attendees still had plenty of unanswered questions since they last had their Accountex tickets stamped in 2019 - what’s happening with MTD ITSA? 

This is what we learned at Accountex North 2021. 

Don’t look back in anger

Amongst the number of sessions dedicated to MTD ITSA was an opportunity to hear from HMRC on its tax digitalisation plans.

We heard numerous reports that the session got rather heated on day one when Richard Fowler from HMRC faced some pointed questions and things were apparently slightly spiky. 

The session on day two was a less angry affair. HMRC’s Verna Gellvear took questions from the floor on landlords, basis periods and the £10,000 threshold. Although there were still a number of unresolved details that attendees were promised would be answered before the end of Autumn when the policy paper is set to be published. 

Interestingly, one thing that was left hanging was the question of whether there would be a delay to MTD for ITSA. Whilst a potential delay was neither denied nor confirmed, there was at least acknowledgement from HMRC that the simultaneous implementation of both MTD for ITSA and potential basis period return would be challenging. Delay or no delay, the message was clear: MTD will be happening.

HMRC also pledged that there would be a significant multi-channel communications campaign to raise awareness amongst the 4.7m people including 1.3m landlords that will be affected by MTD for ITSA. They said they’d learned lessons from MTD for VAT and promised that they would not simply rely on the accounting profession to get the message across, unlike the way MTD for VAT is currently being delivered. 

Early registration of clients (but not bulk registration) would be possible from April 2022, and accountants would be able to send an invitation to clients from within their Agent Services account. They would also be able to track progress of who has signed up and who hasn’t. Unlike with MTD for VAT, early registration for MTD ITSA would not mean that a client would have to start using a new system before the mandatory date.

There was also a promise that there will indeed be free software from commercial software providers for those “with the simplest tax affairs”. 

Though there was no confirmation of which providers would offer this, and many of the providers we spoke to were rather more reserved on this, simply saying that until the MTD details were published they’d be waiting to see what might be possible, given the significantly more complex needs of MTD ITSA over MTD VAT.

With the autumn (imminent?) arrival of the MTD ITSA regulations, we look forward to continuing the debate at AccountingWEB Live Expo in December.

News from the Vendors

Accountex North was another chance for a wide range of vendors to connect with their accounting clients, to show the latest features, developments and integrations.

Sage teased all the attendees with a big product launch. The software company is keeping the ‘Boss it’ surprise firmly under wraps until November, but is promising it will be ‘the future of accountancy’. We’ll make sure that we get the scoop when the details are available.

Capitalise held a Tapas event for attendees on the evening of day one, celebrating the recent launch of the partnership with Experian and the integration of Credit Protection and Credit Reports to its platform

BTCSoftware and practice management software Pixie shared a stand to preview their new integration. With tax return season on the horizon, the alliance aims to eliminate a lot of the manual runaround between the two platforms, while the automated nudges aim to help lasso clients’ information without much chasing from the accountant. As MTD ITSA sessions echoed around the old railway station, the integration will likely have caught the attention of accountants searching for a solution to minimise the additional quarterly reporting grunt work. 

See you in December?

So that was Accountex North Summit 2021. What did you think? It’s certainly great to be able to have live events and meet in person again. And in case you weren’t aware, we’ve launched our own event. We’re looking forward to seeing you at AccountingWEB Live Expo on 1-2 December 2021 in Coventry. 

An easily accessible central location, with all the vendors you expect to see, and what we believe will be the most comprehensive content and education program, where you can hear from and debate with industry leaders. Oh, and did we mention registration is open now, and it’s free!

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