26 November, 2018 in Company News

Making Tax Digital (MTD) Overview

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is a government initiative to modernise HMRCs tax system, with the aim of making the whole process of administrating tax simpler and more efficient. All of your tax information will be in one place (your digital account) and you will be able to pay tax based on your business activity during the year. You can upload and update your tax account in real time.

Will it affect me?

If you own a business, you are self-employed and you pay income tax, national insurance, VAT or corporation tax then it is quite likely you will be affected. This means you could be required to keep track of your tax affairs digitally using MTD compatible software, and to update HMRC at least quarterly via your digital tax account. Eventually this will abolish the annual tax return. This will be the law and there will be penalties for non- compliance. 

What do I have to do?

You will need to open and log into your digital account. Everyone will be allocated one through the current Government Gateway. Then you will need to ensure your accounting software can update this account at least quarterly. For most businesses, this means a move away from desktop and onto Cloud based accounting software. You are required to choose digital (Cloud) software to maintain your business records and to provide updates of information to HMRC. You will be prompted to send summary updates directly to HMRC – quarterly updates will need to be submitted within a month of quarter end, and an end of year activity report will be due within nine months of the end of the accounting year. As your accountant and tax agent, we can advise you on the software you will need and how to comply with the new quarterly reporting requirements.

When is all this happening?

MTD starts with businesses above the VAT threshold limits (currently £85,000) in April 2019. The first VAT period to which MTD applies will be the one commencing on or after 1 April 2019.

Those affected will be required to keep digital records for VAT purposes. 

*The income tax element of MTD was expected to commence in 2020. However, following the Spring Statement 2019, it is now delayed until it has been thoroughly tested and then will most likely be introduced on a voluntary basis. Further details on the release date have yet to be made available, but it is rumoured to be delayed at least until 2021. 

What’s next?

Out team at CavanaghKelly can help.

We can work with you and your business to:

- assist you through the Making Tax Digital process

- complete your business VAT preparations & reviews

- complete the submissions via compatible spreadsheet records

- provide part or fully serviced book-keeping


The options have been set out in more detail below.

Preparing for Making Tax Digital

Which solution is right for your business?

Option 1 - Self Managed - Implement MTD Computerised Software

You may already be maintainig your own records for VAT and are happy to continue to do so. However, the process may be manual or you may be using a computerised software package that is not MTD ready.

We can:

  • Work with you to identify a software that suits your business needs
  • Provide software set up
  • Scope training needs and provide training where required

Option 2 - Fully Serviced

At CavanaghKelly we can provide a full book keeping service. Our team can draft, review and submit VAT returns. We can also work with you to assess your software requirements or where software is not available, we can keep your records in a digital format for our team to recird, submit and return.

We can:

  • Provide a full book keeping service
  • Keep digital records
  • Submit via bridging software
  • Communicate VAT position

Option 3 - Joint Working

You may currently be using a joint working approach to VAT for example by maintaining your own records internally but having them reviewed and submitted externally. Maybe you're using computerised software or excel spreadsheets for your records but upgrading to MTD ready software is not feasible at the moment. In which case the use of bridging software may be a suitable option.

We can:

  • Work with you to submit records via bridging software
  • Provide excel templates to convert current records
  • Draft, review & submit returns, depending on your requirements.


If you would like to discuss how this affects you and your business and the options available, please contact us.


*Please note this content has been updated following the Spring Statement 13.03.19

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Whilst every effort has been made by CavanaghKelly to ensure the accuracy of the information here, it cannot be guaranteed and neither CavanaghKelly nor any related entity shall have liability to any person who relies on the information herein. Information given here is for guidance only. Detailed professional advice should be taken before acting on any information contained herein. If having read the guidance here, you would like to discuss further; a member of our team would be pleased to help you.