The development of HMRC’s Making Tax Digital software is at an advanced stage despite the fact the project’s latest four consultation documents including details on the mechanics of quarterly reporting for companies have yet to be published, reports Calum Fuller
The scheme, which will see all taxpayers given online accounts detailing their tax status and liabilities, is set to commence from April 2018. The income tax private beta for unincorporated businesses, landlords and their advisers started in May, while the public beta is set to begin in April 2017.
HMRC has yet to set a date for the publication of the consultation document, although it insists it will be issued ‘shortly’ despite its tight timetable for implementation, development and the current parliamentary recess. That position was reiterated at a meeting between key HMRC officials including Jim Harra and stakeholders last week.
‘We have been working with a number of software developers to build the links between HMRC systems and the software they are developing that will allow us to start testing that software with customers to ensure it meets their needs,’ an HMRC spokesman told CCH Daily. ‘As the software develops we will extend it to a larger number of customers through the public beta so that we can be confident it is intuitive and easy to use.’
The system is to split into two streams: businesses and individuals. On 29 July, it was confirmed Accenture had won the IT contract with HMRC to provide software development for the individual taxpayers’ digital tax accounts.
The split has raised questions over how someone could move between the personal accountant and business account for tax purposes, for example if they have income from an activity that becomes increasingly successful and they decide to make it their main income.
On that point, HMRC said its aim is to ‘give customers a consistent experience irrespective of the account through which they interact with HMRC’.
‘We will test the best way to do this and use feedback from customers to design the best service.’