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MTDfB delayed post April 2020

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Posted by: Tony Margaritelli | Last modified on 18/03/2019

So, now we know MTD4VAT’s big strapping brother MTDfB has been postponed again until at least 2021.

How was this piece of information conveyed to us? Was it via a massive email campaign or maybe a letter? or even in Parliament?

The answer is none of the above because it basically was slipped out post the Spring Statement on the 13th in the “written statement” on page 6 as follows:

“The focus will be on supporting businesses to transition and the government will therefore not be mandating MTD for any new taxes or businesses in 2020.”

So, there you are, one sentence not even thought worthy enough of actually being spoken by the Chancellor at the despatch box in Parliament. No mention of a new implementation date and no mention of the huge losses the government will be facing as a result of the terrible and significant errors that will now go unfound in taxpayers accounts and returns because of MTDfB’s deferment because that’s what they have been saying is the reason for MTDfB isn’t it.

One sentence which means hours and hours of work/study have been wasted by Accountants everywhere as they grappled with the nuances of the MTDfB agenda to say nothing of the actual costs involved in travelling to seminars and conferences. Nothing said about the ££££s lost by the software industry gearing up for the 2nd supposed start date which has become a 3rd start date which actually isn’t even thought worthy of mandating.

All the hours of marketing that the software industry have spent telling us that MTD must and can only be accommodated in the cloud means that they will now have to sell their software on the basis of its own actual merits, no longer will they have the easy option of the strap line with MTD included.

Let’s be honest and say that Automation and AI will make some form of MTD and come about in the future but let’s also be honest and say that maybe next time HMRC can look to disavow mandation.

The whole MTDfB saga has been a catalogue of broken promises, timescales that were unachievable, extremely poor communications and definitely a failure of HMRC to listen to Accountants trusting instead in a software industry that were being blinkered by the pound signs they could see stretching before them.

When will it come in? who knows. Actually should we be satisfied with a Revenue service that has hung it’s hat on MTD mandation as it’s flagship which would be used to close a supposed tax gap and has now been reduced to 9 boxes on a Vat return for the foreseeable future? The answer is a resounding No, but HMRC rather than accept that they couldn’t actually deliver on their promises already have their Brexit scapegoat ready to trot out.

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