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Taxpayers unprepared for Making Tax Digital

An unprepared laptop.

People are unprepared and unenthusiastic for Making Tax Digital (MTD), according to a survey commissioned by HMRC.

Unprepared for MTD

Global market research group Ipsos recently released data suggesting a lack of preparation for MTD. They said “awareness of MTD in general, and MTD for income tax self-assessment (ITSA) specifically was low”.

MTD ITSA will require people with annual business or property income above £10,000 to keep their records and file their returns with specialist software from April 2024.

HMRC claims MTD ITSA will make it easier for people to file their taxes. It will help avoid mistakes that cost the Treasury billions in lost tax revenue.

But only 38% of respondents agreed that using MTD-compatible software would be easy, compared to 35% who disagreed.

Under half (43%) said MTD would make submitting quarterly returns easy. Almost four in ten (39%) said it would be more difficult.

Similarly, just 34% said a quarterly summary would ease the end of year burden. In comparison, 42% said it would become more difficult with MTD.

Ipsos randomly selected 2,200 individuals eligible for MTD for ITSA and weighted the final data to be representative of the MTD for ITSA population.

Results of the survey

Andrew Jackson, representing both the Association of Taxation Technicians and Chartered Institute of Taxation, said:

“The survey results suggest the lack of understanding among affected people of what the changes mean in practice.

“These results show an alarming lack of readiness and enthusiasm for MTD. Furthermore, there is a lack of awareness that MTD for ITSA begins in less than two years’ time.

“This adds to our concerns about the lack of available and affordable Making Tax Digital software and the low numbers of businesspeople and landlords signing up to take part in the Making Tax Digital for Income Tax pilot.

“Taxpayer scepticism and overall lack of readiness is combined with a lack of certainty and continuing questions from agents on practical matters.”

He added that HMRC should publish more detailed guidance about MTD to improve awareness about the scheme.

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