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Panama Papers fall-out delays MTD

20th Apr 2016
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The long-awaited consultation documents for Making Tax Digital, HMRC’s digital tax strategy, may only be released in July thanks to the upheaval caused by the Panama Papers.

According to official sources the consultation documents are ready, but could now be trapped in bureaucratic limbo as key staff have been diverted to work on information leaked via the Panamanian documents.

This change of schedule is likely to push the MTD documents behind the veil of ‘purda’ as the fast approaching EU referendum puts government departments on lockdown, according to AccountingWEB’s tax policy editor Rebecca Cave.

Rumours from Whitehall suggested that the documents were to be issued last week, although that was never official, said Rebecca Benneyworth, tax expert and ICAEW tax faculty member.

Benneyworth has seen the documents, but was reticent about naming their exact release date. “I think you can say that we expect them very soon.”

Making Tax Digital’s enduring lack of transparency will frustrate accountants hoping to find out more. But, said Benneyworth, the tax authority’s opacity shouldn’t discourage accountants from voicing their opinions. “I would encourage all firms who represent small businesses to make their views known, and for firms to do their own responses to the consultations,” she told AccountingWEB.

“Smaller firms representing small businesses with limited digital capability are going to be the crux of delivering this ambitious project, and most will have views on what needs to be done to reduce the impact on small businesses.

“HMRC is, I know, keen to hear what the key issues are from a small business perspective. Firms might even like to encourage clients to attend a seminar in their offices, so that their representations include client comments.”

There is an official mailbox where agents can send their thoughts and suggestions. At an HMRC MTD consultation event attended by AccountingWEB, the HMRC representative assured those present that every single email sent will get read. It was stressed, however, that it’s strictly a ‘no reply’ address, so any correspondence sent to this address will not receive a response.

HMRC’s press office was contacted by AccountingWEB, but they were unable to offer any clarity on a set release date for the consultation documents.

Replies (9)

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paddle steamer
20th Apr 2016 16:39

Given HMRC's normal response times getting information to us by July is blisteringly quick, anyone used to dealing with HMRC will welcome such a speedy outcome.

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By MM Bookkeeping Services
20th Apr 2016 18:40

July 2017 maybe? :)

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Time for change
By Time for change
21st Apr 2016 07:49

You can always "bury" bad news,

if you're either, a civil servant, or politician. Delaying the release of the consultation documents, is another style of internment.

Cynic that I am, can already smell something quite rotten here.

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By ShirleyM
21st Apr 2016 08:37

The link isn't working

How do I get to the Official Mailbox?

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Time for change
By Time for change
21st Apr 2016 08:44

It's here Shirley

[email protected]


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By ShirleyM
21st Apr 2016 09:56

Thank you


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Replying to Russell51:
By Francois Badenhorst
21st Apr 2016 22:09

Apologies about that, Shirley

And thanks Time for Change for passing it on! 

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By North East Accountant
22nd Apr 2016 09:11

Read then bin

It might make you feel better sending a response but if they are read they will then be completely ignored.

It's a joke that this is supposed to come in in less than 2 years and we still have no clue as to what exactly it entails.

Just like doing the consultations end Jan they will release consultation in time for their massive summer recess and just before the school holidays. When they get limited response they can later say, well we did consult.

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By rockallj
22nd Apr 2016 13:23

MTD - Making Tax Digital

Please publicise this fully in open press, trade journals, websites, professional bodies and more important HMRC. They need to understand that they are using unrealistic assumptions about traders.

Accountants are not being difficult or awkward: I would LOVE all of my clients to be able to use these technologies to make my practice life easier, smooth out workloads and reinstate a personal work/life balance. But in truth, as said, many lack to time, expertise or purposely do not use or trust much advancements.

I accept that quarterly reporting will be introduced in time: but in the meantime,HMRC must listen to the profession, extend the timescales, and use carrots for client co-operation, not sticks! This measure should be voluntary until HMRC properly have the systems to cope with the raw data they will receive. We know that with RTI, HMRC cannot get it right, so how will millions of individual transactions help them. If they need to introduce quarterly tax payments, HMRC should have the balls to introduce it as it is and not dress it up as something it is not.


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