120,000 businesses miss first MTD for VAT deadline

Some 120,000 businesses have missed the first deadline for filing under the Making Tax Digital regime, and HMRC has sent out ‘TV licence’-style reminders urging them to do so before next month, but will not be taking enforcement action at present

According to HMRC figures, over 1.1m businesses have now signed up for Making Tax Digital and over 1.2m VAT returns having been successfully submitted through the service to date.

However, 120,000 VAT-registered businesses with a turnover over £85,000 failed to take action by the 7 August deadline as they did not sign up in time. Estimates suggest about 490,000 should have completed their first return by August.

HMRC has said it will be taking a light touch approach to penalties during the first year of mandation and will not issue filing or record keeping penalties where businesses are doing their best to comply with MTD. In normal circumstances there would be fines of at least £100.

An HMRC spokesperson said: ‘We want businesses to join MTD without fear of getting it wrong – HMRC are not penalising those transitioning.

‘Our letters are the latest in a series of communications to encourage those remaining businesses to join the 1.1m who already have signed up and ensure they know how to access support to do so if they need it.’

However, despite the recent publicity around the missed deadline, HMRC has announced that Making Tax Digital for VAT online services will not be fully available over two weekends this month.

Affected dates are September 14 and September 15, and September 21–23.

On the latter Sunday and Monday (September 21- 23) it will not be possible to sign up for Making Tax Digital, submit returns, view previous submissions and payment details, set up new direct debits or amend or cancel existing ones, or review and update any business details, and agents will be unable to access any agent services.

MTD service availability issues details here

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