Businesses warned about VAT returns going digital

Becki Roberts, assistant manager of UHY Hacker Young's Nottingham office.
Becki Roberts, assistant manager of UHY Hacker Young's Nottingham office.

The country might be fixated with Brexit, but businesses in the Mansfield and Ashfield area are being urged to ensure they are prepared for the end of the tax year, which is looming large.

In particular, advice is being given about Making Tax Digital (MTD), a fundamental change that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is introducing to the VAT return system this April.

Nottingham-based accountancy firm, UHY Hacker Young, says it is crucial that businesses have an effective VAT registration and return operation in place to avoid penalties.

Assistant manager Becki Roberts said: “HMRC wants to go paperless to improve efficiency, reduce errors and create £1 billion of extra revenue for the Treasury by 2020.

“It is phasing in MTD gradually, but it comes into effect on April 1 for all VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the threshold of £85,000. They must submit their VAT returns online.

“Currently, many businesses use spreadsheets and/or manual calculations to finalise their VAT returns. However, under MTD, the expectation is that these will need to be digitised.

“Firms must keep digital records of all transaction details, using software that is capable of linking directly to HMRC’s systems.

“Also, they must return their VAT return data, via that software, directly to HMRC within one month and seven days from the end of their VAT quarter.

“Penalties for late submission could prove to be extremely costly.”

It is expected that HMRC will also introduce MTD for income and corporation tax eventually, and that it will be extended to all VAT-registered business from 2020.