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L-R: Giles McCallum, head of MTD for HMRC with Glenn Collins, head of policy at ACCA
L-R: Giles McCallum, head of MTD for HMRC with Glenn Collins, head of policy at ACCA

HMRC’s Giles McCallum on the vision for MTD and THAT article

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Giles McCallum’s column about HMRC’s vision for MTD wins the prize for having the most reader comments in 2021, so during his session at the AccountingWEB Live Expo he had his right to reply.

1st Dec 2021
Editor in Chief AccountingWEB
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Giles McCallum’s column, published on AccountingWEB in October, about HMRC’s vision for MTD and the benefits it will bring to the tax system wins the prize for having the most reader comments in 2021.

Whilst many of the views and concerns expressed were not anything that hasn’t been said before by the AccountingWEB community, the level of responses and strength of feeling certainly made HMRC sit up and listen.

So it was no surprise that when McCallum, who heads up MTD for HMRC, spoke at the AccountingWEB Live Expo he took the opportunity to set the record straight, tackling some of the challenges and questions shared by readers of his original article.

First, he qualified his credentials for doing the job he has been tasked with. McCallum said: “Some of you may have read my recent article on AccountingWEB, judging by many of the comments some may have expected me to be presenting this from a golf course - maybe between holes 9 and 10 - telling you how to do your jobs. I’m sorry, that’s not me. Or you were expecting me to be a pinstripe-suited civil service mandarin from Whitehall. That’s not me either. 

“My background is from the private sector where I have been running digital transformation programmes across many different industries for a great number of years and I’m bringing that into MTD, combined with my wide team.”

He also tackled criticism in the article’s comments that HMRC “is sitting in its ivory tower” and is “blind to the pain or the journey ahead”, reassuring the audience that he is out in the field, speaking to accountants and businesses regularly.

“Just the other day I was in Newcastle speaking with a number of different accountancy firms. We are very close with all of the software industry and are working with them hand in hand. But there is so much still to do and we are well aware of that and are taking that forward.”

McCallum also underlined his recognition of the role accountants had to play in readying clients for MTD, but said: “MTD is happening and MTD for ITSA is happening, the legislation in parliament has been passed and we have a lot to do. It is not a question of whether we work together on this, it is how we work together on this because we will need to.”

“There is plentiful reward for the accountancy profession and for businesses if we get this right. I am committed to ensuring we do get this right and with you we will move on this journey together.”

In the session, Glenn Collins, head of policy at ACCA, steered questions and said that the concerns expressed by agents were on behalf of their clients. McCallum reassured the audience that the message had come through “loud and clear”.

He added: “I talk to individual accountants who are uber digital as well as those who have not started that journey and I understand it is about getting the message out and helping their clients understand what this is, what the journey is and how to get that across.

“This is about the taxpayer having the ability to keep digital records and a different way of submitting tax. We are utterly cognizant of the impact that this will have. It will be much bigger than VAT because there is a more fundamental change going on in ITSA than there was in VAT, with quarterly reporting and so on. 

“But digital record keeping is the way forward. Sticking your receipts on a spike and dealing with them at the end of the year is not the way things are going. We have got to make that change. It is happening. But I agree it is about the taxpayer.”

Collins pressed hard on the low £10,000 threshold - and it is something the ACCA continues to lobby against.

McCallum said that while £10,000 is a low bar, it was purposefully low to get the long tail of smaller UK businesses and taxpayers filing digitally.

“We are not trying to exclude here, we are trying to create as much inclusion into MTD as possible because filing records digitally is the way to go."

Talking of end goals, Collins also asked whether quarterly reporting was the test bed and starting point for quarterly tax payments in the future - McCallum’s response was an unequivocal ‘no’.

“There is a lot of confusion and we have to up our game in getting these messages out. Quarterly submissions are not the same as the end of year tax calculation. There will still be one end of year calculation and the quarterly submission is just a summary to say ‘yes we are keeping our records digitally, we are able to submit digitally and those records give an accurate representation of where our business is over that quarter’.”

Coming soon: more from Giles McCallum’s session and the UK business journey to digitalisation.

 

AccountingWEB Live Expo is in the Coventry Building Society Arena on 1-2 December. 

Replies (69)

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By Justin Bryant
01st Dec 2021 15:14

"We are utterly cognizant of the impact that this will have."

Does he now win the prize for the most utterly predictable response (or rather non-response as the case may be) of the year I wonder?

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By GHarr497688
01st Dec 2021 15:20

This man hasn't a clue. No one at HMRC can see that this is going to cause more work and costs with a higher risk of error for some. For some it will work for some it won't . That how easy it is to understand. Forcing people who don't understand computers or accounts , have limited budgets and who are not capable of keeping records on a computer should have a simple exemption process without the need to "beg" hmrc Exemption especially when they have used the same system for 25 years or more and are close to retirement or younger people with little knowledge of Accounts or Computers. The whole MTD process is wrong at all levels. No surprise the "get rich quick" brigade support it : Software houses , younger Accountants who need the dosh and highly paid Civil Servants who won't have to use the daft system.

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By Hugo Fair
01st Dec 2021 15:55

Not just tin ears, but at least one has fallen off and is listening to a different 'conversation' than the one all the rest of us are having.

"I talk to individual accountants who are uber digital as well as those who have not started that journey".
But it's the taxpayers on which the imposition of digital records is being levied, not the accountants (who in most cases are merely caught in the crossfire)!

".. digital record keeping is the way forward. Sticking your receipts on a spike and dealing with them at the end of the year is not the way things are going."
Those are not the only (binary) options. I know taxpayers who are up-to-date on a daily basis, whether via paper cashbooks or well-maintained spreadsheets, but who will struggle with the definition of digital records demanded by MTD ... and so are likely to be non-compliant (despite having accurate records and being timeous payers of their tax liabilities).

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By North East Accountant
01st Dec 2021 16:28

"Just the other day I was in Newcastle speaking with a number of different accountancy firms. "

Where's my invite Giles.......is it delayed with all the letters that HMRC haven't answered?

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Replying to North East Accountant:
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By djtax
03rd Dec 2021 10:49

It would be interesting to find out which firms he has spoken to (just the big guys or also sole practitioners etc?) and to learn what their opinions were after these meetings. Was anyone here on AWeb involved (me neither....)?
He says he has lots of experience in computer systems but what experience has he had in the impact of systems in our sector?

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By bluebaron
01st Dec 2021 16:40

No plans for quarterly tax payments, yet the HMRC consultation document just published says the exact opposite!!!

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Replying to bluebaron:
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By GHarr497688
01st Dec 2021 18:12

Thats what I thought as well. I thought I was going mad. Letters not answered and HMRC officials saying the first thing that comes into their head - scary .

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By Paul Crowley
01st Dec 2021 16:47

Did he have the courage to mention that MTD is really just a basis for trying to get tax paid earlier?
Thought not

"Talking of end goals, Collins also asked whether quarterly reporting was the test bed and starting point for quarterly tax payments in the future - McCallum’s response was an unequivocal ‘no’."
Sorry mate but you have been knowingly mislead

Any responsible buisness leader or politician would now be looking to resign
A little bit late for Spin
Maybe he needs to read Aweb articles of the website before turning up and making false comments on behalf on HMRC

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
01st Dec 2021 17:22

This keep on disappearing, so if we get it 3 times, I apologise:

“But digital record keeping is the way forward. Sticking your receipts on a spike and dealing with them at the end of the year is not the way things are going. We have got to make that change. It is happening. But I agree it is about the taxpayer.”

This comment is deeply insulting to the tax payer and to accountants.

We are so far removed this from this naïve and quite frankly badly out of touch comment which seems to be something out of the 1970's.

If this is what you think the objectors to your project are doing, then you have been badly mis-informed and very much need to extend your research.

Accountants are not sitting here with bags of receipts. Virtually everything we do is digital now. Digital in, digitally processed digitally out. We don't even have a physical filing cabinet any more.

The core objection is compulsion to using unsuitable methods, and compulsory quarterly filing for wholly unsuitable businesses who have a handful of transactions per annum. This is the problem you need to engage in, not dismissing very legitimate concerns from the experts who deal with this stuff day in day out with high handed statements.

I note you are still running scared of meeting normal small accounting practices on the ground. This is very disappointing.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Paul Crowley
01st Dec 2021 21:31

+1
No paper filing at all
Very limited postage
I still get rotten stinking cheques that regularly take a month to get to the bank, but that just is how clients are
NOT accountants

Maybe Giles needs to visit the real World
But in his place I would be mortified to find out that the grand MTD scheme was just a grubby money grab system.
HMRC made him look disingenuous

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
02nd Dec 2021 11:10

In reply to my own response, I also added in the version that went "poof" one hugely important fact about tax payers and agents vs what happens commercially.

Unlike the commercial world, no-one chooses to pay their taxes to HMRC, the only choice is HMRC or the black economy. You cant therefore "cherry pick" the tax payers you want to serve, you have to deal with all of us.

Moreover tax agents are not employees of HMRC, so you are very limited in what you can do in terms of 'telling us what to do'. You cant sack us. Indeed if agents went on strike the whole tax system would cease to function, you would be shocked how often agents have to explain to HMRC how their own systems work.

Up until now the approach has been to simplify to ensure its easy to pay some tax, even if its not very right. Two page tax returns which you can post in. One line turnover and expenses. Flat rate expenses of £1,000. You can even just ring up and tell HMRC how much you made. As a result the level of general engagement is high, and given the almost non-existent work HMRC do to reign in the black economy, this remains small.

A number of studies (including the failed business records check) have concluded that bookkeeping standards whilst variable are in general good enough to work out tax bills. That is to say there is simply no crisis in record keeping.

You are throwing all that experience and wisdom in the bin and replacing it with a blizzard of complexity which will leave tax many payers confused, tearful and angry. I would suggest a large number of unrepresented tax payers will simply give up trying and drop out of the system. This does not matter in a commercial system where you can pick your customers, but it does matter for HMRC.

HMRC has once function, and one function only, to collect taxes. You are making this much harder to do, and therefore utterly failing in HMRC's core function by overreaching into area in which HMRC has no knowledge, experience or competence.

One a wider point, we are told that this will be great for small businesses due to all the extra data that MTD will supply about tax bills. So tell me this, if as you assert through your new digital methods we can estimate tax bills accurately and timely for just an extra 6 minutes per quarter, and there is a demand for this service amongst tax payers, where on earth is this service in the market place?
All the tech is here now. For many of my clients we already use cloud accounting packages where suitable, but I am stuffed if I can find any bright tech upstart business offering this USP and pushing aside us old fashioned accountants (I am 48) out of the way.

I suspect this is because we are yet again correct that (a) estimates will be poor, the ones you see in Freeagent for example are laughable,- , and (b) there is no demand as small clients generally know what their tax bill will be form the simple method of “what is was last year, plus or minus a bit based on how we are doing”

Your arguments simply don’t hold water.

Which I assume is what you are refusing to meet small tax agents.

This project is HS2 in tax turns. Woefully over promised, hopefully late, and the rationale for it bypassed before its built by the simple fact that by and large most tax payers who would benefit from better digital records are doing it anyway. All you have left is the ones who will not benefit.

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By justsotax
01st Dec 2021 17:23

....the closer we get to the implementation the further we get away from the original intentions and supposed benefits.....

You can wear what you like mate.....if you are delivering the same rhetoric then you ain't listening hard enough....

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By kenny achampong
01st Dec 2021 18:11

1) My background is from the private sector where I have been running digital transformation programmes across many different industries

So his background isnt as an accountant or book-keeper ?! Obviously not surprising. But he will have no idea what it's like getting information from clients, even annually, let alone quarterly. And trying to teach them basic computer skills such as downloading files, copying files, making templates, entering data, etc. I would really love to see him try to teach some of my elderly landlords how to use Sage. And I bet even he would struggle to make sense of some of those estate agent statements where the tenants pay in dribs and drabs, and withhold floats etc. He's never had to constantly nag clients to get mortgage statements/certificates, because, Mr Private Sector, they are only issued annually. He thinks it's either our 'receipts on spikes', or this impossible MTD task that worked so well in the 'Private Sector'.

2) We are very close with all of the software industry

Say no more

3) There is plentiful reward for the accountancy profession

I think I know what he's getting at there! Maybe some accountants do see the chance to treble their fees if they are able to employ loads of extra fully trained staff for a fortnight 4 times a year, and so are looking forward to it, but most accountants like their clients, and don't want to see them get ripped off by an incompetent government and the software companies, and also know we won't be able to, or want to, get the extra staff and so what they are asking us to do is actually impossible. But what do they care ? Late filing penalties will help fund the billions they are paying out on this utter nonsense.

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Replying to kenny achampong:
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By adam.arca
02nd Dec 2021 10:01

kenny achampong wrote:

most accountants like their clients, and don't want to see them get ripped off by an incompetent government and the software companies

This, this and this.

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Replying to kenny achampong:
By Nick Graves
03rd Dec 2021 12:07

Yup, Kenny.

You got it in one!

Once again, we see prima facie evidence of the revolving-door between Big IT (or Big Anything) and the Gov't.

You'll own nothing and they'll still not be happy...

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
01st Dec 2021 19:52

may I also add. this statement is partially vexing:

"the quarterly submission is just a summary to say ‘yes we are keeping our records digitally, we are able to submit digitally and those records give an accurate representation of where our business is over that quarter’.”

It has been said before that the quarterly records did NOT need to be an "accurate representation of where our business is over that quarter". The only way to do that would be quarterly accounts. Something we have been told time and time again would not be required but you are stating quite clearly they WOULD be required. You cannot get an "accurate representation of where our business is" from cash based data. Not going to happen. If you think that then you clearly have a woeful lack of comprehension of what transactional based records are and what accountants actually do.

Moreover why on earth do grown adult tax payers have to "check in" once a quarter? This is really is incredible demeaning.

There is no parallel anywhere else in the tax system where tax payers are expected to submit data once a quarter to "check up on them", the data which has already been confirmed will not be used for the computations of tax. This is red tape creation on a momentous scale something you seem to refuse to accept as it torpedoes the whole project.

*This post has been moderated*

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By More unearned luck
01st Dec 2021 20:25

“There is plentiful reward for the accountancy profession...”

Yes, an extra four occasions a year for which I can bill clients, but that doesn't mean I support Making Things Difficult (MTD).

“But digital record keeping is the way forward. Sticking your receipts on a spike and dealing with them at the end of the year is not the way things are going. We have got to make that change. It is happening. But I agree it is about the taxpayer.”

This is HMRC's arrogance nakedly displayed. How can Mr McCallum know better than the taxpayer what is the best accounting system for him or her? The credentials he gave does not suggest he is qualified to advise on accounting systems for small businesses. If it was truly about the taxpayer MTD wouldn't contain its compulsory elements.

...filing records digitally is the way to go."

Indeed it is for most people but not for everyone.

"Quarterly submissions are not the same as the end of year tax calculation."

I don't think that anyone disputes this. The quarterly submission are pointless and there is every point to the y/e one.

"...the quarterly submission is just a summary to say ‘yes we are keeping our records digitally, we are able to submit digitally...’"

Is the crumb of comfort given to HMRC that records are being kept digitally worth the hassle to taxpayers and the millions they will pay in penalties when they file quarterly returns late or not at all?

"...and those records give an accurate representation of where our business is over that quarter."

How can a cash based submission be an accurate representation of where the business is at over the quarter? By this criterion Southend United FC (who appeared in the FTT recently as it wasn't paying its VAT and PAYE) would look to be doing well, or least not as badly as reality, because the tax payment debits would be missing from the quarterly figures. How can it be accurate for a seasonal business? Even if the submission truly reflected the health of the business, what business is it of HMRC's to know that?

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By More unearned luck
01st Dec 2021 20:17

For his attempt at pouring oil on troubled waters, I give Mr McCallum 1 of ten.

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Replying to More unearned luck:
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By Hugo Fair
01st Dec 2021 20:32

Shame that no-one warned him of the dangers of dropping a lit match or two!

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Replying to More unearned luck:
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By RFL H
02nd Dec 2021 09:40

Sorry - no - zero out of 10.

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
02nd Dec 2021 08:26

This is his "right to reply"?

It reads more like his right to repeat what he said the first time whilst taking nothing on board. He had as much right as anyone to engage in the debate in the comments to his article. He didn't and I doubt he will do so here. Actually having to respond directly to what people are saying is apprarently too difficult for him.

Could the author explain how this shows that "HMRC sit up and listen" to accountants.

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By bluebaron
02nd Dec 2021 09:03

Just read how the DVLA thought that going digital would bring in more money, but it has surprised them that in the event, many more people are now not paying car tax...yet apparently digital is the answer to everything..!!!

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By AndyC555
02nd Dec 2021 09:38

"I am listening to all your concerns.

We will plough on with our plans regardless of those concerns"

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By RFL H
02nd Dec 2021 09:47

The fact that you are close to the software companies is the problem - they are using this as an excuse to rip off my clients.

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
02nd Dec 2021 10:08

How inevitable, how depressing.

I am so glad I am mainly departed from all that is about to happen, I will think fondly and in sympathy about all of you whilst sitting peacefully in my allotment.

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By adam.arca
02nd Dec 2021 10:24

Wow, HMRC really know how to run a charm offensive, don't they?

"But digital record keeping is the way forward." Because????

"filing records digitally is the way to go." Because????

Now I could be generous and say that poor editing by Aweb has omitted answers to those becauses which Giles may possibly have proffered at this session but, due to numerous opportunities which HMRC have passed up to give proper answers to all our questions, I'm not prepared to be that generous.

Frankly, Giles, there's absolutely no trust left in the tank. I am maxxed out on utter disdain for Revenue incompetence and I am maxxed out on utter contempt for Revenue arrogance. Your organisation can't handle the simplest of tasks yet it has the brass neck to believe it is its role to drive through change on this level with zero beta testing, zero road testing, zero road map and zero buy in?

"judging by many of the comments some may have expected me to be presenting this from a golf course." Was that meant to be a joke? Don't trivalise the subject: we know you're deadly serious about this issue; after all, quite a few civil servants' CVs depend upon it. You need to be aware, however, that accountants are deadly serious in their opposition. The Revenue have done little so far but try to appeal to what you perceive should be our better sides, as if we should somehow back an initiative 100% biased in favour of the Revenue yet accept it's our jobs to sell it as 100% in favour of our clients? Get real, man. Since you apparently need to be told, our better sides comprise in working in the best interests of our clients (and, yes, that will quite often mean pushing digitalisation), and realising that big, massively mismanaged projects like this have DISASTER written all over them. If you see a dog t.*.r.d. on the pavement, do you make every effort to walk straight into it or do you give it the big swerve?

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Replying to adam.arca:
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By alialdabawi
03rd Dec 2021 12:19

To be fair to Aweb, McCallum did not provide a 'Because' to either of these statements. I did ask him for his 'Because', personally, after the session, and with an air of arrogance, I was told that digital is the future, and three other ways to make the same point, but I wasn't provided with a because.

I also specifically questioned the comment 'We are not trying to create exclusion' which he mentioned when pressed on the £10k threshold. When I mentioned about many individuals having to do all of this without even qualifying to pay tax (£12.5k), or even a higher £30k (arbitrary figure but a fair amount of income someone can actually live off), there was just a shrug and the comment repeated - Why exclude - we want to minimise exclusion and widen the net for the digitisation.

Having spoken with both Harra personally, and McCallum personally:
I found the former to be more engaging and willing to develop the relationship with agents, whilst at times feeling shackled by having some of his decisions made for him by politicians, whilst finding the latter to be obdurate and with a 'This-is-happening-deal-with-it' mentality with responses coming across as more 'Leave-me-alone' than 'Let's-try-and-understand-one-another'

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Replying to alialdabawi:
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By johnjenkins
03rd Dec 2021 12:36

I don't know why anyone thinks Giles or Jim are even remotely interested in what we think (we don't get the BIG picture). They have been sold that digital is the way forward and that's it. For some it is but for many it isn't. The choice should be left to the tax payer.
Let me ask this question. Do we trust HMRC? The answer is a resounding No. At some stage the gloves will come off and small business will rare up.
The problem is that a lot of money has been spent on MTD so HMRC need to get that back even if it is on penalties.

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Replying to alialdabawi:
Tornado
By Tornado
03rd Dec 2021 13:16

"I also specifically questioned the comment 'We are not trying to create exclusion' which he mentioned when pressed on the £10k threshold. When I mentioned about many individuals having to do all of this without even qualifying to pay tax (£12.5k), or even a higher £30k (arbitrary figure but a fair amount of income someone can actually live off), there was just a shrug and the comment repeated - Why exclude - we want to minimise exclusion and widen the net for the digitisation."

What a load of twaddle.

No one needs to be excluded if the mandatory limit was set at £85,000 and then there was an option for anyone else to join in if they want to. I am guessing that this must be a difficult concept for Mr McCallum to understand as it seems perfectly clear to me.

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Replying to alialdabawi:
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By adam.arca
03rd Dec 2021 13:18

Thanks for the coal face report.

The IT industry and its acolytes are coming to rule the world and clearly see that as their rightful role.

Unfortunately, being completely cut off from normal humanity and normal human responses, their hubris does not allow them to see the power of Donald Rumsfeld's truism (was it him or an earlier defense secretary?) about the "unknown unknowns." Hell, they can't even sort out the known unknowns.

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Replying to adam.arca:
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By alialdabawi
03rd Dec 2021 12:20

To be fair to Aweb, McCallum did not provide a 'Because' to either of these statements. I did ask him for his 'Because', personally, after the session, and with an air of arrogance, I was told that digital is the future, and three other ways to make the same point, but I wasn't provided with a because.

I also specifically questioned the comment 'We are not trying to create exclusion' which he mentioned when pressed on the £10k threshold. When I mentioned about many individuals having to do all of this without even qualifying to pay tax (£12.5k), or even a higher £30k (arbitrary figure but a fair amount of income someone can actually live off), there was just a shrug and the comment repeated - Why exclude - we want to minimise exclusion and widen the net for the digitisation.

Having spoken with both Harra personally, and McCallum personally:
I found the former to be more engaging and willing to develop the relationship with agents, whilst at times feeling shackled by having some of his decisions made for him by politicians, whilst finding the latter to be obdurate and with a 'This-is-happening-deal-with-it' mentality with responses coming across as more 'Leave-me-alone' than 'Let's-try-and-understand-one-another'

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By johnjenkins
02nd Dec 2021 10:45

I think the fact that he mentioned "this has been passed by Parliament and WE (I presume that isn't the Royal we) have a lot to do" says it all. He has deliberately side stepped the real issues to concentrate on the peripherals. There is only one answer, I'm afraid, and that is WE withdraw our help and let HMRC blindly go where no man has gone before Jim.

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By anthonystorey
02nd Dec 2021 11:29

“There is plentiful reward for the accountancy profession...”
Some of my clients say they won't need my services if they are paying for the software "that does everything".
Some even say that they will pay less tax because they won't have me going through everything and knocking out what's not allowable.

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By tedbuck
02nd Dec 2021 11:36

The more I listen to and read the rubbish issued by HMRC the more I am reminded that it is a totally incompetent organisation.
Clients phone the helplines and if they are lucky enough to get through they get given answers that are often incorrect because the HMRC people don't understand the question.
I had a case of an incorrect deduction in a code number for a previous year's 'underpayment'. 3 HMRC people said it was 'correct' - couldn't be wrong' - and was 'OK' - at the fourth try I struck a measure of intelligence but it then had to be passed to the 'back room' because it was beyond the man's knowledge. It did get sorted but what a pathetic performance by totally incompetent HMRC people.
They do not and cannot provide a proper service to the taxpayer because their staff just aren't properly trained any more. So one reason for MTDfITSA is that they think it will replace the need for people so they can have more computers and forget about the taxpayer.
The other reason is political - fines are not tax increases so raising money by fines is not raising taxes so HMG can smile sweetly and skim a few quid here and there to pay for their gross inefficiency and profligate spending. As an observer from the outside, the Civil Service in general seems to have got bigger, more computerised and less efficient as the years go by. HMG looks to raise taxes rather than stop wastage within the Civil Service. I suppose there is no stomach in HMG to take on the Civil Service now that Cummings has gone but it galls me that HMRC are so arrogant that they expect the little people on low incomes to pay a disproportionate additional cost for no real purpose so that HMRC can cover up their own total incompetence in managing a situation which the Treasury have engineered by sloppy administration of the tax system which is now so complicated that HMRC have to employ people to explain it to them.
Basically HMRC is broken and all this is a cover up operation to distract from their lack of performance and inability to do their jobs properly.
After all who now bothers to write to HMRC? We know they won't reply so it is pointless, so actually I suppose they have achieved what they were trying to do - run the world on a GIGO system and don't bother to query anything because it is digital. That must be the most simple minded thought of all. It will serve them right when they find that there are people out there who can fudge the digital records even better than the manual ones - actually it is very much easier - most systems allow you to go back and alter stuff - bank feeds can be overridden and HMRC just wouldn't even know where to start looking at the problem.
The arrogant certainty of the HMRC man that he knows what he is doing really gets me - I am paying this man through my taxes and he is not worth whatever it is that he is paid and I'll bet it is a lot.

** This comment has been moderated ***

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By Stalytax
02nd Dec 2021 12:11

"We are very close with all of the software industry and are working with them hand in hand"

Jack went to the market and on the way he met a man who wanted to buy his cow. Jack asked, “What will you give me in return for my cow?” The man answered, “I will give you five magic beans!”

"There is plentiful reward for the accountancy profession"

I can't remember (without looking it up) whether I am supposed to charge for 6 minutes or £6 extra every quarter. The actual answer will be neither as i am now telling clients that I will be out of here by then, rather than face quarterly last minute rushes to file.

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Tornado
By Tornado
02nd Dec 2021 13:11

Wow!

But MTD is still not my responsibility

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Tornado
By Tornado
03rd Dec 2021 09:25

Whichever way MrCallum views the MTD project, there is indisputable evidence that HMRC as a whole is incompetent and whilst MTD may be his only concern, for the rest of us the performance of the whole service is what matters. His views are clearly related ONLY to his own project but he does need to be pragmatic and accept that his project is likely to fail due to the inadequacies of numerous other sections of HMRC.

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Replying to Tornado:
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By johnjenkins
03rd Dec 2021 09:45

I don't supposed he's bothered as long as he gets his dosh (through an umbrella company, perhaps?)

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Replying to Tornado:
Tornado
By Tornado
03rd Dec 2021 10:00

Apologies, this should read Mr McCallum.

(Hell, am I getting as incompetent as HMRC!)

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By Duggimon
03rd Dec 2021 10:29

I could not care less about his personal credentials, what he wears or who he talks to, his actions are the only concern and they remain firmly in step with all the criticisms levied so far at the project.

There is nothing inherently wrong with MTD, there is plenty wrong with mandatory MTD, and despite this being his "right to reply" he has entirely failed to reply to that particular point.

HMRC want to force businesses to keep digital records. It wouldn't help matters but would at least be more palatable if they would just admit it instead of lying so unashamedly about it being of benefit to the businesses. It's a benefit to HMRC and that's why they're doing it and why they will carry on ignoring and waffling around all the questions and concerns raised.

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By jamiea4f
03rd Dec 2021 10:30

Usual HMRC “we’re right and you’ll have to live with it” response. Bearing in mind they can’t even answer a phone within 45 minutes (even on the “agent dedicated line”) I expect this to be a shambles…

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By Duggimon
03rd Dec 2021 10:32

"We are very close with all of the software industry and are working with them hand in hand. "

And the Department for Transport has been blown away for the support for new road plans from the car manufacturers.

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By spuddle
03rd Dec 2021 10:32

"Talking of end goals, Collins also asked whether quarterly reporting was the test bed and starting point for quarterly tax payments in the future - McCallum’s response was an unequivocal ‘no’."

If that really is the case there will be ZERO benefit of quarterly submissions to anyone except for HMRC to trumpet that taxpayers will be benefiting from it, even if they aren't. A pointless, expensive and frustrating exercise.

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Bee
By May bee
03rd Dec 2021 10:37

Oh Giles, we really do not care what suit you wear or what hobbies you practise. We care that you are still refusing to listen and still churning out nonsense rhetoric about MTD saving businesses money (how?!) and digital being better simply because it it digital. Your response is woeful an short-sighted.

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By Peter-S
03rd Dec 2021 10:37

“There is plentiful reward for the accountancy profession...”

I did a webinar with a respected lecturer the other day and his practical suggestions for coping with this MTD nonsense were telling staff they could not have time off at filing times (so no holidays for anyone in April, July, October?!!) and/or getting them to do 10 hour days to cope with filing demands on the promise of time off later on to compensate. Is this the 'plentiful reward' that Giles is referring to? How do you recruit with that or why would you want to stay in the job and try and oversee it. Crazy.
Digital records, OK I can go along with it but the pointless filing …...

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By RogerMT
03rd Dec 2021 10:46

Judging by all the responses in this thread from accountants like me, who work at the sharp end, and actually know that filing quaterly for Joe Bloggs Subcontractor (or Taxi Driver, or Stall Holder, or Mobile Takeaway, etc etc) will be a nightmare made real, maybe we should take up the suggestion made somewhere higher up the page that us beleagured agents should all go on strike as far as MTD ITSA is concerned. Seriously.
Mind you, given the political inclinations of most accountants, this is about as likely as joined up thinking by our wonderful government! Have a nice weekend... :)

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By sammerchant
03rd Dec 2021 10:50

"McCallum said that while £10,000 is a low bar, it was purposefully low to get the long tail of smaller UK businesses and taxpayers filing digitally."

Never mind the grief that it causes the accountancy profession and the taxpayers (oops, sorry, "customers"). HMRC has blinded on with this and most definitely has been deaf to the uproar against it. I predict that a sizeable percentage of taxpayers (NOT "customers") will either fail to meet the deadlines or to file altogether. What then? Thousands and thousands of reminders followed by penalties??

The next stage will be that the newspapers so far seemingly unaware of the looming disaster, will pick it up, the individual MPs will be inundated with complaints from their constituents, and questions will (finally) be asked in the House.

All predictable, all avoidable. But HMRC has switched off its hearing aid.

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By justsotax
03rd Dec 2021 10:57

the irony of the Revenue setting a low bar purposely.....

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Replying to justsotax:
Tornado
By Tornado
03rd Dec 2021 11:10

justsotax wrote:

the irony of the Revenue setting a low bar purposely.....

OK son, I gave you a bash round the head because its is for your own good and you will appreciate it later.

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By rob crittenden
03rd Dec 2021 10:58

Plenty of people have already commented that Giles McCallum appears blissfully unaware of the accruals concept, the relevance of stock and work in progress accuracy and various other accountancy staples. He also seems to be unaware of ignorant misposting ( HP repayments to motor expenses ) or intentional misposting ( whisky in the garage posted to fuel ).
But never mind , there is "plentiful reward " for us. I wish he could be in the room with me when I explain to a groundworker , who's already getting it in the neck from his wife about rent and gas costs going through the roof, that he's got to pay a monthly subscription for an accounting package and he's got to pay me five times a year rather than once.

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