Making Tax Digital is a key part of the government’s plans to make it easier for individuals and businesses to get their tax right and keep on top of their affairs – meaning the end of the annual tax return for millions.
Can quarterly reporting be easier than annual reporting???
Digital tax accounts for all will mean the tax payer can see the information that HMRC holds and be able to check at any time that their details are complete and correct. HMRC will use this information to tailor the service it provides, according to each tax payers’ individual circumstances.
The top 5 common accounting problems accountants deal with are:
1. Not doing any accounts – the shoe box approach to business
This is the most common mistake, book keeping is best done as you go along, putting all the paperwork in a shoe box or carrier bag is a really bad idea as you have no idea how your business is performing.
2. Not keeping receipts. Often small business miss out on claiming all their expenses because they fail to keep receipts and lose track of their spending
3. Not reconciling. Reconciling your bank statements to your cash book is vital to make sure that all of your income and expenses have been recorded in your accounts.
4. Using the wrong accounting system. For some businesses a manual cash book and records are fine but for many accounting software such as Sage, Xero or Debitoor will be needed to keep track of debtors, creditors and VAT. Make sure you understand your accounting system and operate it correctly.
5. Mixing business and personal expenses. Some sole traders even mix up business and personal bank accounts and in extreme cases don’t even have a business bank account. This can cause errors and often means that a sole trader will either claim to many expenses or to few.
We know that the majority of businesses, self-employed people and landlords want to get their tax right first time, but the latest tax gap figures show too many businesses are prone to making mistakes. The amount of tax not collected due to avoidable taxpayer errors and carelessness has risen to over £8bn a year. This not only costs the public purse – it also creates cost, uncertainty and worry when HMRC is forced to look into their affairs.
By 2020 most businesses, self-employed people and landlords will be required to keep track of their tax affairs digitally and update HMRC at least quarterly via their digital tax account.
These changes will be introduced for some businesses from April 2018, and will be phased in by 2020, giving businesses time to adapt.
One of the big areas of concern has been over the quarterly tax reporting requirements and concerns over data accuracy, as a result, the government has pushed back the start date for small business to April 2019.
Data accuracy is going to be critical, are most businesses up to providing data in real time? RTI has worked for payroll but could it really work for accounting information? many businesses rely on their accountants and book keepers to get the information correct.
It is expected that most modern accounting systems will be able to upload the quarterly results to HMRC or Agents could key the information directly into digital accounts. However, this will mean things like dividends will have to be declared in the correct period and not just at year end.