I'm a partner with Burton Sweet, chartered accountants & business advisers, and run the Shepton Mallet office down in beautiful Somerset. Despite the name, Shepton Mallet is actually the home of Glastonbury Festival! I trained in audit and corporate tax with Grant Thornton and came to my current position in 1991 via small local practices and a stint with a training consortium.
I have the distinction of being one of the original members of the AccountingWEB editorial team, having been a freelance writer here for a year or so before John Stockdyk joined!
I drew the line years ago when I found that a firm I had applied to expected me to account for "human time" - i.e loo breaks - on my timesheets. Unbelievable!
I'm not sure why you think traders filing their own VAT returns online will suddenly start making errors they didn't make filing manually. I don't think that's the issue at all. HMRC's biggest risk is that small businesses who file their own VAT returns will do nothing, and then in July 2019 find they can't file their June 2019 VAT return in the old way and in many cases will just give up. The impact on Treasury cashflow could be significant, and off-the-record conversations I have had suggest that some senior Treasury advisers are starting to panic!
One of my clients has just received the HMRC letter advising that they will join MTD for VAT after October. They don't use any special schemes, etc. totally normal trading company. I don't know if this is an error by HMRC (surely not!) or an indication that in fact the deadline is actually slipping already.
Apparently HubDoc will even be GDPR-compliant soon. Luckily for them a lot of UK users aren't bothered!
The problem is that IR35 is a mean-spirited and politically-motivated tax. Why do large organisations - esp Government departments and public sector - insist on using contrator companies? Because they want to avoid the extensive and expensive obligations imposed on employers. The Government implicitly encourages this because it reduces Goverment spending.
The Government either cannot or will not revisit those employee protections etc, so it has created IR35 to give it a similar tax take to employment, without addressing any of the issues from the worker/employee's side.
I suggest it's a mistake to look for fairness or coherent employment principles in IR35. It's a political device and we just have to find a way to work with it until a future Government is willing to change the underlying rules.
Yes, an interesting development. I had to smile at ReceiptBank's congratulatory tweet to Xero yesterday!
With Xero bringing on HubDoc and it's own improved expenses app it does seem to be competing more and more with the established app providers, despite the official word from Gary Turner. How long before they buy a dashboard/reporting app too?
"My simple cynical side thinks that the MTD monster (like RTI) was originally conceived in an attempt to make Universal Credit work" - was my thought exactly until Rebecca Cave pointed out that HMRC and DWP are at loggerheads and do not / will not share data with each other. Sadly I fear there is more politics than logic behind all this mess.
The lack of mid-market cloud solutions is a frustration. Exact looked very promising and has bailed out just as mid-sized businesses were starting to look for an alternative when they outgrow Xero and QBO. It's a gap that someone should be looking at seriously - is this going to be where Sage regains market share?
My impression is that public sector employers are applying the new rules on a blanket basis, irrespective of the merits of the contractor's contract and working practices, etc. If HMRC/Gov pressurises private sector employers to do the same, then the contracting sector is sunk.
I don't buy any of the reasons Put forward above as to "why IR reforms won't hit the private sector". I don't believe the Gov actually sees small businesses - they are simply not on their radar, except maybe as a source of revenue.
Put in context, we're one of the few countries that actually have a significant VAT registration threshold. Many countries (VAT is by no means an EU tax any more) use VAT registration as a means of registering businesses and keeping track of them. I can see the argument for this, plus it creates a level playing field for all businesses I suppose.
Nonetheless I agree that the administrative burden makes it unworkable, even with the Flat Rate Scheme.