Delays in Making Tax Digital (MTD)

The UK government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative has been a topic of discussion for many small business owners and self-employed individuals since it was first announced in 2015. The goal of the MTD system is to modernize the tax system. Additionally, it should improve efficiency by requiring businesses to keep digital records and file quarterly updates to HMRC.

MTD

However, the rollout of the MTD system has faced several delays. The latest announcement has pushed the implementation date back to April 2026 for self-employed individuals and small businesses. In this blog, we will delve into the details of the MTD system and its impact on small businesses. Further to this we will address some of the concerns and criticisms that have been raised.

What is Making Tax Digital (MTD)?

Making Tax Digital is a UK government initiative to modernise the tax system and improve efficiency. Under the MTD system, businesses with annual taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) must keep digital records and file quarterly updates to HMRC using approved software. This replaces the traditional annual tax return system and gives businesses a more up-to-date view of their tax affairs.

The MTD system was initially set to be introduced in April 2018 for VAT-registered businesses. It was subsequently rolled out to include self-employed individuals and small businesses in April 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation date was delayed until April 2023 for self-employed individuals and small businesses. There were also concerns about the readiness of HMRC’s computer systems.

Latest Delay

In 2021, the Treasury announced that the deadline for the MTD system would be postponed for an additional 12 months. Therefore, pushing the implementation date back to April 2024. Now, the government has announced a further delay of two years. Consequently, the MTD system is now set to be introduced in April 2026. This will be applied to self-employed individuals and small businesses earning over £10,000 per year.

The reason for the latest delay is reportedly due to concerns about the readiness of HMRC’s computer systems. There are worries around their ability to handle the increased volume of digital tax returns. The government has stated that it wants to ensure a smooth transition to the MTD system. They want to avoid any technical issues that could cause disruptions for businesses.

Impact on Small Businesses

The MTD system is expected to significantly impact small businesses and self-employed individuals. It will require them to adopt new software and processes for keeping track of their financial records. While the government has stated that the MTD system will reduce errors and improve accuracy in tax returns, some small business owners have raised concerns about the cost and time required to use MTD-compliant software.

One of the main criticisms of the MTD system is that it may be burdensome for small businesses. Some businesses are already struggling to cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The additional cost and time required to use MTD-compliant software could be a significant burden for already stretched-thin businesses.

Additionally, some small business owners have raised concerns about the complexity of the MTD system. Further to this the potential for technical issues to arise. The government has stated that it will provide support and guidance to help with the transition to the MTD system. However, some business owners remain worried about the potential for disruptions and errors.

What does this mean for MTD?

The latest delay gives businesses and self-employed individuals additional time to prepare for the transition to the MTD system. However it is important for businesses to start planning now to ensure a smooth transition.

The government has provided resources and guidance to help businesses understand the requirements of the MTD system and choose the right software to meet their needs. It is important for businesses to carefully research their options and choose a software solution that is reliable, user-friendly, and provides the features and support they need.

In addition to choosing the right software, businesses should also take steps to ensure that their financial records are accurate and up-to-date. This may require implementing new processes for tracking and recording financial transactions and could involve training staff on using the new software.

While the MTD system is likely to present some challenges for small businesses, it also has the potential to bring significant benefits. Businesses can make more informed decisions and better manage their finances by providing a more up-to-date view of their tax affairs. Additionally, the automation and error checks built into the MTD system should help reduce common mistakes and improve the accuracy of tax returns.

Overall, the Making Tax Digital initiative is an important step towards modernizing the UK tax system. Small businesses and self-employed individuals should now take steps to prepare for the transition. By choosing the right software, keeping financial records accurate and up-to-date, and seeking out resources and guidance from the government, businesses can ensure a smooth and successful transition to the MTD system.