With lower than a month to go till Making Tax Digital (MTD) turns into obligatory, compliance has turn into a frontline enterprise problem for 1000’s of companies – and significantly these within the accountancy sector. And with good purpose: the brand new guidelines stipulate that any firm that crosses the VAT registration threshold (at present a turnover above £85,000) should be capable to submit their tax returns to HMRC wholly digitally, relatively than utilizing the present Government Gateway.
That change goes to be important for corporations at present working with out applicable digital workflows. In flip, meaning accountants must not solely handle their very own compliance but in addition assist all their purchasers to do likewise. Unfortunately, current analysis from the ICAEW discovered that over two fifths of companies affected nonetheless don’t know that they should comply. There’s a steep hill to climb for some.
Businesses now should be targeted on what they should do and put a plan into motion. The excellent news is, it’s not too late. By following these tips, accountants may help their purchasers register as compliant forward of the upcoming deadline.
1. Get arrange with an agent providers account – and keep watch over the calendar
For these answerable for submitting VAT returns on behalf of their purchasers, one of the best place to begin is by organising an agent providers account with HMRC. You’ll want considered one of these accounts so as to entry the providers that comprise HMRC’s digitisation drive, of which MTD is a component.
You’ll want one agent providers account for every one who’s liable for a consumer’s tax admin. This is a key level to deal with prematurely – it’s essential to get your agent providers account arrange in loads of time in case you’re going to get your purchasers dwell for MTD earlier than the deadline.
It’s additionally essential to recognise that MTD doesn’t use the prevailing HMRC portal – it’s a brand new system. As such, you’ll want to order time to get every consumer’s financial institution particulars transferred over into the brand new platform. That’s not a small endeavor – it’s going to take roughly 5 working days following the final non-MTD VAT return that your consumer submitted. On prime of that, it’s going to additionally should be carried out not less than two weeks (in working days) earlier than you go dwell with MTD VAT returns.
In brief, timing is crucial. Plan your compliance efforts nicely prematurely or danger scrambling to prepare on the final minute.
2. Do your due diligence in your purchasers’ bookkeeping
MTD could also be a compliance burden in some senses, nevertheless it additionally gives the right alternative for purchasers to evaluate the way in which they’re working their bookkeeping. They ought to see this as an opportunity to take inventory and ask themselves: ‘are we performing these processes digitally or manually?’ If it’s the latter, then it’s in all probability time for a change. Obviously this will probably be an enormous transfer for some – significantly these nonetheless reliant on spreadsheets or pen and paper – nevertheless it’s value it. By conserving digital data of transactions, purchasers will shortly profit from the improved monetary insights by making that change, serving to them to make higher enterprise choices. Obviously this will probably be an enormous transfer for some – significantly these nonetheless reliant on spreadsheets or pen and paper – nevertheless it’s value it.
While over the short-term there will probably be a while funding wanted to maneuver data into digital recordsdata, it shortly unlocks the door to long-term efficiencies for each you and your purchasers. Keying in VAT knowledge manually, for instance, typically requires an enormous quantity of handbook admin which may very well be dealt with by software program. Systems like Auto Entry and Receipt Bank may help you to save lots of time and enhance effectivity and productiveness.
3. Conduct pilot schemes that will help you put together
It’s additionally smart to participate in an MTD trial prematurely of your first dwell consumer VAT submissions. Running a test-bed inside your individual follow is an effective approach of constructing certain you’ve ironed out any kinks earlier than going to purchasers.
It’s not solely client-facing advantages, both – by adopting MTD-compliant techniques prematurely, you get the prospect to familiarise your self with the brand new system earlier than it turns into obligatory.
4. Don’t neglect purchasers who do their very own VAT returns
There are two key forms of purchasers that accountants might want to information by way of the MTD course of. The first is these purchasers who’ve outsourced their VAT returns to their accountant.
The key with these purchasers is communication – make sure that they perceive the adjustments in depth and are able to offer you the data you have to efficiently handle their funds below MTD. They should be prepared to vary the way in which they document their transactions – by implementing bridging instruments, for instance, so that you mechanically obtain their transactions.
The second kind handle their very own VAT returns. For them, the query is – do they know what they should do? It’s straightforward to really feel that it’s not your accountability, however your relationship with them will take the autumn in the event that they fail to conform correctly and get a name from HMRC.
There are extra questions than you may first assume. Do they perceive when to change on the MTD software program, what their compliance deadline is, which VAT return needs to be the primary to be accomplished below MTD and the truth that they should register their very own compliance? It’s in the end your accountability as their accountant to make sure that they’re absolutely abreast of those adjustments and particulars.
There’s nonetheless time to realize compliance earlier than the deadline. By establishing a transparent plan and prioritising the pressing duties, companies may be able to go digital for his or her first MTD return after 1st April. MTD compliance can have main advantages for your small business – now’s the time to get on board.
Julia Wedgwood, Senior Manager at Sage