The clock is ticking if you want to submit written evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee’s inquiry into MTD.
The deadline for submissions is 1 October. The Lord’s enquiry is examining the progress of Making Tax Digital for Business has made since March 2017, when the sub-committee published a critical assessment of the government’s digital tax plans.
The 2017 report called the digitalisation of tax administration “an objective to be welcomed”, but it chastised the government for its lacklustre transitional arrangements. It also poked holes in the logic behind MTD’s quick rollout, dismissing the estimates around ‘tax gap’ savings and the costs to businesses as “fragile and not based on adequate evidence”.
The 12-month delay to MTD was deemed inadequate as well, saying: “It does not address the concerns we heard in evidence about the scheme’s underlying evidence base, design, piloting, roll out, and scope.”
Over a year on, the new inquiry will examine what key improvements have occurred, or new concerns have arisen, since the sub-committee’s MTD report. The latest inquiry has identified two particular questions it wants to answer:
How prepared are HMRC, businesses (small and large) and software providers for the implementation of Making Tax Digital for VAT in April 2019, and what are the challenges of concurrent preparations for Brexit?
What are the potential costs of Making Tax Digital for VAT for businesses?
“We will consider whether Making Tax Digital for VAT is on track for introduction in April 2019, and whether sufficient support for businesses will be in place in time,” said Lord Forsyth, chairman of the sub-committee.
“We want to hear from a wide-range of people and organisations, in particular those who may have experienced the use of HMRC's powers or be preparing for Making Tax Digital, and we are looking for sensible, pragmatic recommendations on how the current approach to these issues could be improved.”
Besides MTD, the Finance Bill sub-committee will examine HMRC’s powers and whether there’s sufficient oversight of the tax authority to ensure there’s no abuse or misuse.
“HMRC’s powers to tackle tax avoidance and tax evasion have expanded exponentially in recent years,” said Lord Forsyth. “The sub-committee will investigate the practical impact of these new powers on the taxpayer.”
The written submission form for both matters can be found here.
About Francois Badenhorst
I'm AccountingWEB's business editor. Feel free to get in touch with comments, tips, scoops or irreverent banter.