Thomson Reuters announced new applications at its Synergy user conference to support practitioners and their clients through the Making Tax Digital (MTD) pilot scheme that starts next month.
“We are proud to be first developer to provide a solution in response to Making Tax Digital,” Thomson Reuters managing director Andrew Flanagan told the audience at the Warwickshire event.
Onvio Tax is a further step into online applications for Thomson Reuters and can conncect to clients’ personal tax accounts using HMRC’s application programming interfaces (APIs). The program will automate the collection and processing of client bookkeeping data through to the quarterly updates posted via their digital tax accounts.
Some of the source data will come via the company’s companion mobile app, OnBalance, which was also unveiled at Synergy. OnBalance is designed to capture receipts via the smartphone camera and record simple transactions that it will pass through to Onvio Tax.
Both applications will be made available to Thomson Reuters customers who take part in the MTD pilot, which opens for business on 6 April.
The mobile app attracted a lot of attention at the Synergy event as the front end to the MTD data capture process. “It’s a simple transaction recorder,” explained Thomson Reuters tax product manager Mark Purdue.
“The focus of what we’re doing with OnBalance, Onvio Trial Balance and Onvio Tax is to get transaction data categorised and into HRMC.”
OnBalance can take pictures of receipts, but is not equipped to extract the data via optical character recognition - yet. Users will need to enter the normal expense categories as listed on their self employment tax forms, or their accountant can categorise them when they access the data in the online trial balance program.
The mobile app has a mileage recorder that relies on the phone’s GPS to log journeys.
“OnBalance is aimed at small traders with their bags of paper and property landords so they can capture transactions themselves. It won’t do invoicing or VAT,” Purdue said.
“We want to encourage small landlords to take part in the pilot, and OnBalance is ideal for them. They can tick a box that says it’s property income, and manage multiple properties.
A single button click will feed the client’s mobile app data through to the accountant’s Onvio Trial Balance program where they can enter any journal adjustments and get the figures ready for the final figure to be submitted through the tax product.
There are still some limitations in the functionality, but Purdue said this would evolve as the pilot progresses.
During his introductory speech, Thomson Reuters MD Flanagan took a moment to reassure conference delegates that it would not be leaving users of its desktop products behind.
“In parallel with Onvio Tax, we are investing in desktop solutions. “Digita Personal Tax is MTD-compliant, and has been tested to work with personal tax accounts. It’s up to you to choose what you work with and when you move to cloud.”
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