Everywhere around us, the digital revolution is shaping our lives. The government is part of this with HMRC planning fundamental changes in the way we manage our tax affairs.
Use of online reporting is now being extended. By 2020, HMRC wants most businesses, self-employed people and landlords to keep track of their tax affairs digitally and update HMRC at least quarterly via their digital tax account. Changes will be introduced for some from April 2018 and phased-in by 2020, giving businesses time to adapt.
Gov.uk has released a ‘myth buster’ on the issue as it seeks to reassure SMEs that tools will be available to help those who struggle to use digital tools.
Some commentators believe that HMRC’s plans are unduly ambitious and have speculated that the plans will have to be delayed. The government’s track record in introducing new IT systems on time is certainly not great and it takes a while for the commercial software providers to catch up once the requirements are clear. However, we cannot rely on there being delays and we must be ready to meet the timetable as currently envisaged.