Making Tax Digital (MTD) has been on the cards for years now, with businesses already pushed towards dealing with their VAT this way. But plans to extend this for Income Tax Self-Assessment (ITSA) have been put on hold once again until April 6, 2026, eight years later than the original planned launch in 2018.
However, even when 2026 comes, the MTD for ITSA will be phased in rather than applying to everyone at once.
The first people doing self-assessment who will need to go digital are landlords and the self-employed who are earning more than £50,000 a year. HMRC estimates that this will mean around 700,000 people are brought into the MTD regime at this point.
The next phase will kick in from April 2027, when landlords and self-employed people earning more than £30,000 a year will be expected to go digital – bringing another 900,000 people into the MTD regime according to HMRC.
Victoria Atkins, financial secretary to the Treasury, announced the delay in the House of Commons just before Christmas.
She said: “The government understands businesses and self-employed individuals are currently facing a challenging economic environment, and that the transition to MTD for ITSA represents a significant change for taxpayers, their agents, and for HMRC.
“That means it is right to take the time needed to work together to maximise those benefits of MTD for small business by implementing gradually.
“The government is therefore announcing more time to prepare, so that all businesses, self-employed individuals, and landlords within scope of MTD for Income Tax, but particularly those with the smallest incomes, can adapt to the new ways of working.”
The needs of smaller businesses are going to be put under review to see how they can be helped to “fulfil their income tax obligations” Ms Atkins said in her statement. Once this review is complete and the various stakeholders – businesses, taxpayers, and their agents among others – have been consulted, the Government will outline further plans for MTD for ITSA, said Ms Atkins.
General partnerships will not be expected to go digital in 2025 now as previously expected, but they will see these changes brought in at a later date. But anyone who wants to sign up for MTD voluntarily before they are required to, has that option.
There may be some benefits to using MTD earlier than you need to, but there could also be drawbacks for some people and businesses. If you want to find out more about the right decision for you, then please contact us and we will give you all the help, support, and information you need.
A new VAT penalties regime was brought in this month, and any firms or individuals missing their filing deadline from January 2023 onwards will receive penalty points even if there is no VAT due to be paid.
While this may sound more benign than getting a fine, persistent late filing could lead to more costs as the points add up. You will get one penalty point for each late VAT filing, and these points accrue for every late filing within a specific period. Once you or your business reaches the threshold of points for each time period, which varies depending on how regularly you have to file your VAT returns, you will then face a fine of £200.
The points threshold also varies depending on the frequency you file VAT returns, and how often within that period you file late. For example, if you file your VAT returns annually, the threshold before you get a penalty is just two points. So, filing late two years in a row would mean you hit your threshold and would face a fine.
If you file quarterly, you have a four-point threshold, and monthly you have a five-point threshold. You get a penalty point for each time you file a VAT return late, so if you file quarterly and have previously filed three returns late, then a £200 penalty would be applied if one more return is filed late giving you a fourth point and hitting the threshold.
If you do not reach the threshold for your penalty points, then your points will expire automatically and when this happens depends entirely on when your return deadline was. If your filing deadline is a date before the end of the relevant month, your penalty point for that period will expire at the end of that month 24 months later. If your deadline was the end of the month, then any points imposed for late filing will expire 25 months after that date, again providing you have not hit the threshold.
If you have hit the threshold, then you need to keep submitting returns on time for a set period to remove those points and prevent further financial penalties being applied.
The companies and individuals who have reached the threshold for points and been hit with a penalty need to file on time for a specific period to clear the points from their record. This is known as ‘the period of compliance’ and how long you need to comply will again depend on how often you file your returns.
For example, those filing annual returns will need to file two returns on time, so it will take 24 months, to clear their points. If you file quarterly, you will need to file four returns on time over 12 months to clear the points, and if you file monthly, then you need to file six returns on time over six months to return to zero points. In addition, you will also need to submit all outstanding returns for the previous 24 months.
However, there is also a new interest penalty imposed for unpaid VAT which will apply for accounting periods starting on or after January 1, 2023. The first penalty would apply if you have not paid the outstanding tax due within 15 days of the date it should have been paid. This would be 2% of the outstanding amount after this period, and if it remained unpaid for 30 days, then the penalty would be “calculated as 2% of the tax outstanding after day 15 plus 2% of the tax outstanding at day 30” according to HMRC. This typically will be a 4% charge at 30 days after the original tax due date.
If the tax is still not paid, then from day 31, a daily accruing penalty at 4% a year will begin to be added to the amount and will only stop when the tax is paid. HMRC will allow taxpayers to request a Time-to-Pay arrangement which will stop the clock on these penalties accruing by agreeing a schedule of payments to deal with the tax due.
You can find out more information about the points regime and any fines that could be imposed, along with how you deal with this points regime if you have a non-standard accounting period, at Gov.uk and about the interest penalties also at Gov.uk.
If you have concerns about your compliance with the VAT filing regime, then speak to us and we will work with you to ensure you do not fall foul of the new rules.
It is a fact of life that when we lose a loved one, the loss and grief is not all we have to deal with, even though that would be enough. Sadly, there is also a lot of administration that needs to be done by those left behind.
This can be anything from registering the death and getting multiple copies of the death certificate to provide to the various organisations that will ask for it, to rehoming pets left behind if necessary. So, dealing with the taxman at such a difficult time may not be appealing. But for some, especially where family members or close friends are also executors for the deceased’s estate, it is unavoidable.
The taxman’s reach goes beyond the grave as we know from Inheritance Tax being applied on estates after death where a liability applies, but there is also a requirement to ensure tax returns for those who have died are up-to-date including for the year in which they died.
This means relatives face collating all their loved one’s tax information for a period prior to their death, even if that information will be sent to an accountant who will deal with the ultimate filing of the return. This is a sensible option, because filing the return themselves mean there are some quirks to the usual system that need to be understood.
HMRC will not accept online filing for anyone who is no longer alive. For security reasons, it insists that any returns relating to the deceased are filed in paper form when being dealt with by a family member or friend.
Authorised tax agents, such as your accountant, can file these returns online, including the return for the year in which they died. The tax year runs from April 6 to April 5 the following year, so the last return would need to relate to the period from April 6 in the relevant tax year to the date of their death.
Returns must be filed before January 31 the year after the end of the relevant tax year, or by the date on the ‘notice to file’ letter if one is received and that gives a different date.
However, if a repayment is due to the person’s estate from HMRC, the payment will not be made automatically. Instead, your accountant may need to call the bereavement helpline to get the ball rolling on this repayment being made.
You may need to deal with tax affairs after the person’s death too, and these are dealt with separately and in a slightly different way. You can find out more information on Gov.uk about what to do and how to tell HMRC about a person’s estate. You should also use the Tell Us Once service that the Government has, which means you tell one organisation within government about the death and all departments will be notified.
If you have lost a loved one recently and need help to deal with their financial affairs, then please get in touch with us and we can help you through the process.
The taxman has been busy this month – no surprise given it is the time when self-assessment returns need to be filed. But anyone who misses the deadline of January 31 faces a new set of interest rates for penalties that were only published on December 20 last year.
The current HMRC interest rate for late payment of tax is the Bank of England (BoE) base rate plus 2.5%. This means that as of January 6, the current rate of interest on late payments is 6%. This applies to Income Tax, National Insurance, Capital Gains Tax, Stamp Duty Land Tax, Stamp Duty Reserve Tax – from October 1, 1999 – and Corporation Tax.
However, if you are owed money by HMRC, the amount of interest you can expect to be paid on that outstanding amount is considerably lower. As of January 6, the amount HMRC will pay you in interest on money owed is 2.5%. You can find out more information about where these figures apply and historical data on Gov.uk.
Interest rates apply if you pay your tax later than it is due, and interest will start to accrue from February 1, 2023, if you miss the January 31 payment deadline, and you would also get a £100 late filing penalty. You would then face an additional penalty of £10 per day if your return is up to three months late, with a maximum of £900 fined. If you still have not filed within six months, then you can face a £300 fine or 5% of the amount due, whichever is higher. The same applies if you have failed to file by the time 12 months have passed.
If you think you could be facing interest charges from HMRC on the late payment of tax due, then speak to your accountant now and find out what we can do to help.