TaxCalc announces spreadsheet functionality to its MTD solution

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Hot on the heels of its triumphs in the Practice Excellence Awards, TaxCalc has announced it will add spreadsheet, income tax and VAT filing functionality to its future MTD solution.

TaxCalc took home prizes for tax software, accounts production and best tax/accounting suite in AccountingWEB's software awards for its existing product family. But the company is not resting on its laurels and the new funtionality shows how the developer is beginning to respond to the two big trends looming over the practice software market: cloud computing and Making Tax Digital (MTD).

The spreadsheet import tool will be part of TaxCalc’s MTD solution to accompany its cloud-based record keeping software Cashbook and MTD Business Tax and Tax Return Production modules.

Users will be able to import data from spreadsheets into TaxCalc’s MTD Business Tax product, which acquires data from various bookkeeping systems. “Having done extensive consultation with our focus groups, we know that many practitioners set their clients up on spreadsheets to record their cash transactions, some of which may be quite elaborate,” explained Steve Checkley, commercial director at TaxCalc.

“We will provide sheets that can be copied into the practitioner’s spreadsheets. After being linked with the totals in the practitioner’s sheets, MTD Business Tax will then be able to take the spreadsheet and import all the relevant values. This meets HMRC’s requirement for data to be imported rather than typed into submission software.”

The new functionality will help clients who want to carry on using spreadsheets while allowing practitioners to make corrections or amendments. The resulting data can then be imported into MTD Business Tax, which will compile the quarterly submissions. “The majority of our customer base will have clients using practitioners’ own spreadsheets, so we think most of our customers will benefit from this approach,” added Checkley.

VAT Filer and income tax

TaxCalc has also confirmed that its VAT Filer solution will also be ready for the submission of VAT returns under MTD in 2019. Since HMRC accept that spreadsheets are digital records, the module will be updated to import data from a sheet to form a submission.

Both TaxCalc MTD Business Tax and TaxCalc VAT Filer will be able to import data from other sources such as Xero and QuickBooks.

Future developments

Talking to AccountingWEB about other developments coming up in the next few months, Checkley added that TaxCalc will release other MTD products, including a new cloud solution: “We are in the process of releasing the MTD for SA APIs to put data into the current Self-Assessment tax returns. We have plans to release MTD Business Tax as close to the start of the next tax year and we are also working on a Cloud Cashbook product for firms whose clients want to start using their own cloud solution,” said Checkley.

He added: “Of course, HMRC revises their roadmap from time to time and the current APIs that enable submission are in beta. These too are subject to change right up until their release next year."

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By KD1182
25th Oct 2017 20:02

Game changer

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By seitler
25th Oct 2017 22:53

Could be very attractive especially to the many VT users following the bombshell at the start of October. I suspect there is a huge market in developing a solution that can take spreadsheet/VT data that we all know and love and feed it to hmrc in the format they require.

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26th Oct 2017 10:11

Hi Steve
Great news about the spreadsheet. I just need my clients to submit rather than me doing it. Is that on the cards?

Roland Boggon

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27th Oct 2017 09:17

Great news. Looks like I'll be switching to Taxcalc

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27th Oct 2017 09:20

That all we need as I have been posting for some time.

Glad at least one firm is listening to their customers and not to the guff coming out of HMRC.

Hopefully an independent will take it on and add a macro for excel, just as VT does for filing with Companies House. Charge £40 a year single company, £100 a year multi use and you will have a £500k turnover as every firm in the country will buy it, and many individuals too, just as an "add on" to any other solution they have.

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27th Oct 2017 11:14

Hi Roland,

We wouldn’t normally comment on AccountingWeb about our plans but thought it useful to answer your question publicly.

We’ve designed the functionality separately from the main tax return software (although it’s still part of the TaxCalc application, accessible from the Launcher and elsewhere as per our other modules). This means we could package it up for different audiences.

I think it’s generally known that HMRC tend to modify their plans from time to time with regard to MTD (and their technical specs even more often!). Over the next two years, we believe that HMRC will attempt to encourage taxpayers voluntarily into MTD via their accountants. What happens after that is yet to be decided.

With this in mind, we intend to focus our efforts upon accountancy practitioners first.

As mentioned in the article, we’ve discussed MTD at length with a number of our customers. I’m also formerly from practice, albeit quite some time ago now, but our discussions corroborate the thought that practitioners really want to maintain the status quo using spreadsheet methods of data capture rather than have clients use apps to photograph documents to make a set of records. We’ve really been pushing support for spreadsheets when we meet with HMRC. The compromise reached is that the data must be imported, not retyped.

Of course, there will be many different solutions to solving MTD but we are confident that this will prove to be a useful one.

Kind regards,

Steve Checkley
Director

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27th Oct 2017 13:59

We've been using TaxCalc for years and I discussed this with Steve at Accountex earlier this year - I came away with the firm view that they "get it" when it comes to the challenges that MTD gives those of us at the sharp end with clients who truly have little or no idea or desire to become tech savvy part-time accountants. I would not even consider changing away from TaxCalc.

Hopefully HMRC will slowly begin to "get it" too!

To those who are still in denial that MTD will happen, all I will say is that we were where you are 18 months ago and with gritted teeth we began to approach change, on our terms, and we're firmly on track now with different solutions planned, and implemented, for different types of clients. Even if MTD doesn't happen, the changes we have made are going to reap dividends over the next year.

I'm always happy to exchange messages with anyone struggling with how they will cope and wanting some advice.

The first thing you have to have is a plan.

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By DJKL
to youngloch
27th Oct 2017 22:40

Ideally a cunning one.

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By JD
28th Oct 2017 15:56

To TaxCalc - for those of us that are commercially aware, can you give us a price yet for these new products.

It would be madness for anybody to go to all the trouble (and non chargeable time) of converting to you, transferring client data, learning the new package and all the little tricks that help you get the best out of the package without certainty over cost first.

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30th Oct 2017 15:10

I was in the market for some new practice software at Accountex this year.

They had some beta versions of what they intended to use with MTD but were not really shouty about them as MTD had been delayed just before the show.

I was impressed with the catch all funnel they had which would pick up spreadsheets etc and this was probably the deciding factor for, close run with BTC. I am a big fan of cloud stuff but I suppose there will always be a few its just too small for to practically convert. I am thinking this will also work for landlords.

For me Taxcalc seem to have cracked it and produced a product that practitioners want without it breaking the bank whereas some of the big boys are maybe over complicating it trying to build full cloud solutions that are going to be a few years before they are available for general use.

In less you are a really big practice for me you cannot look beyond Taxcalc or BTC, I am really happy i went with them, just hope they will work with some of the cloud PM systems and then it will be a winner.

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