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Weekly Edition - Published  17 January 2016


Local News Report - Mobile Page


Tax professionals issue warning about move to quarterly Tax reporting

THE Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) cautions that compelling small businesses to submit information digitally will result in previously compliant individuals, who find themselves unable to satisfy their new obligations, becoming involuntarily non-compliant.  This follows the news that a Parliamentary Petition calling on the Government to scrap plans to make small businesses and self employed individuals report their Tax data quarterly, through their digital Tax accounts, has gathered more than 106,000 signatures in its 1st 3 weeks. The number means that Parliament must now debate it. LITRG is worried that the smallest businesses run by non-computer literate owners or those who do not keep sophisticated Tax records may face sanctions from HMRC because they will be unable to meet the new quarterly obligations. Those most at risk of failing to meet the requirements include older and disabled people and those living in remote areas.

Anthony Thomas, LITRG Chairman, said:- "The Government's approach is simplistic and betrays a worrying ignorance of how most businesses actually operate. Companies which do not already use record keeping software, or are using software that will be incompatible with HMRC's digital accounts, will have to spend a great deal of time transposing their business records onto new systems to satisfy HMRC; time spent in an activity of little or no value to them or their customers.  It is very harsh that the smallest businesses with the lowest profit margins may be required to undertake significant investment and training in computer technology simply in order to comply with HMRC's reporting requirements, and for no other purpose.  Instead of mandating, HMRC should develop software that is so much more convenient and easier to operate than any alternative. Then people will naturally choose to use it, as is already the case with online self assessment filing. That approach we would fully support. Alternative methods of reporting must be realistic; requiring a pensioner business owner to use a smartphone, if they cannot use a computer would not be a sensible alternative. It is surely right that people should have the choice about methods they use to submit their Tax information? Forcing people to do what they cannot do will only create hard cases, and hard cases make bad law."

LITRG warns that it is 'inevitable' that compulsory quarterly reporting will lead to compulsory quarterly Tax payments, which will cause yet more problems for the smallest businesses.   Anthony Thomas said:- "We are keen to hear further details when the Government issues its promised consultation. It is essential that the circumstances and capability of the smallest enterprises are taken into account when devising the new policy, and that nobody is forced to do something they cannot."

What do you think about this idea by HMRC? Will it add extra problems to your business and the way you work? Please email us  your thoughts to our newsroom via:- today!


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