What is Making Tax Digital?

Definition of Making Tax Digital

Making Tax Digital is a government initiative that sets out a vision for ‘a transformed tax system and the end of the tax return’ by 2020.

The aim of the initiative is to make tax administration more effective, more efficient and easier for taxpayers, through the implementation of a fully digital tax system.

The changes outlined in the Making Tax Digital initiative will apply to a wide range of taxpayers, including most businesses, self-employed people and landlords, as well as individual taxpayers.

What's changing?

HMRC has released consultation papers that outline what it’s planning to do and ask for feedback from taxpayers and their accountants.

The current plans, in brief, are:

  • The smallest businesses, where the trader has total income under £10,000, will be exempt from MTD.
  • Taxpayers will send in summaries of their income and expenditure at least four times a year.
  • More taxpayers will be able to use the cash basis of accounting.

When will the changes happen?

Making Tax Digital has a phased roll-out plan which started in early 2016 and is set to end in 2020. Anticipated key milestones include:

  • July - December 2017 - Digital tax accounts show taxpayers an overview of their liabilities in one place.
  • July - December 2018 - Most businesses, self-employed people and landlords start updating HMRC quarterly for income tax and national insurance obligations through accounting software.
  • 2019 - Most businesses, self-employed people and landlords start updating HMRC quarterly for VAT obligations through their accounting software.
  • 2020 - The full range of HMRC services is available through digital tax accounts.

More about Making Tax Digital

If you're an accountant and would like to provide some more information to your micro-business and freelance clients about what the new initiative means for them, we've created a guide to Making Tax Digital that does just that.

More information about the Making Tax Digital initiative, along with a detailed breakdown of timescales and milestones, is available from gov.uk.

Got questions? Ask Emily!

FreeAgent's Chief Accountant Emily Coltman is available to answer your questions in the comments.

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