Making Tax Digital (MTD) – Mythbusters

We have been sent these Mythbusters from HMRC

From 1 April 2019 most businesses above the VAT threshold will need to keep their records digitally and submit their VAT return using compatible software.

Myth 1: Businesses can’t use spreadsheets as part of MTD

This is not correct

Businesses can choose to use spreadsheets to both maintain digital records and perform tax calculations, provided the spreadsheets combine with some form of ‘bridging’ software that will allow their VAT return data to be sent to HMRC from the spreadsheet.

Myth 2: Everyone will have to join the service by 1 April 2019

This is not correct

Businesses are required to join MTD and submit their VAT returns using the new service for their first VAT period which begins on or after 1 April. For the majority, who file quarterly, their first MTD returns won’t be due until August or later. But remember – businesses will need to have signed up to the service, begun keeping their records digitally and set up their MTD compliant software to send information to MTD, in good time before they file their first return under MTD.

Myth 3: Will customers over the VAT threshold be automatically signed up to MTD from 1st April?

This is not correct

MTD requires customers to sign up to the service, so that we can verify their information and migrate their record to the MTD system. HMRC will not be undertaking a wholesale migration from 1st April 2019.

Important: businesses should not sign up to MTD until they have filed their last return through the old xml route. This is because sign up migrates their record to our new MTD system and closes off the xml channel.

Myth 4: Under MTD, businesses will have to provide more information than they already do

This is not correct

No business will need to provide information to HMRC more regularly than they do now, nor send any additional information.

Myth 5: MTD won’t reduce errors

This is not correct

Keeping records on paper and submitting VAT returns to HMRC manually results in errors – in a recent YouGov poll 61% of businesses said they have previously lost receipts – and errors also occur in the manual transposition of data and manual calculations. MTD offers a more integrated approach to business administration and tax, reducing the time businesses spend on administration in the longer term and making it easier for them to get their tax right.

Myth 6: Small businesses should be automatically exempt

This is not correct

The smallest businesses are already exempt from MTD. Only those with taxable turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000 are required to join MTD, although the c.1m VAT registered businesses below the threshold can choose to join voluntarily. Businesses that cannot go digital will not be required to do so.

Myth 7: HMRC will penalise me if I get the new process wrong

This is not correct

HMRC recognises that businesses will require time to become familiar with the new requirements of MTD. During the first year of mandation HMRC will take a light touch approach to digital record keeping and filing penalties where businesses are doing their best to comply with the law.