Find Out How Cloud Accounting Can Make MTD a Smoother Transition

Making Tax Digital

Technological hitches and Brexit-related delays aside, Making Tax Digital (MTD) is going to happen. One way or another, the UK’s tax system is going digital, and it’s vitally important that you take the correct measures now to avoid scrambling at the last minute two years from now.

In this brief blog post, we explain why switching to cloud accounting today can make MTD a smoother, more effective transition in the future.

A reminder: What is Making Tax Digital?

We’ve previously blogged about what Making Tax Digital is and how it will affect you, but if you’re still not sure, here’s a quick reminder:

Making Tax Digital is a government initiative designed to streamline and simplify tax, and bring about the end of paper accounting for millions across the UK. Instead of a yearly tax return, businesses will be tasked with setting up a digital tax account and filing an online return once per quarter.

If it all works as intended, MTD will make tax more straightforward, accurate, and far less stressful.

Why make the switch now?

From a compliance point of view, if your business does not exceed the VAT threshold, you will not be mandated to keep digital records and submit quarterly returns via digital accounting software. Or, in other words, if you’re not turning over £85,000 and above, you can breathe easy about implementing new software.

However, there’s still an argument that you should make the switch to a cloud-based accounting system well in advance of the inevitable expansion of MTD, set to take place in or around April 2020.

Why? Well, cloud accounting can save you time and save you money. It makes financial admin easier, and will ultimately result in a more effective and efficient tax return, regardless of whether or not your business is compelled to comply with MTD.

It might be tempting to dismiss MTD as yet another HMRC obligation, but the truth is, the move towards a fully digital and largely automated accounting process will improve your business tenfold. You’ll have instant access to real-time, up-to-date numbers which will, in turn, help you make better decisions in your pursuit of growth and profit.

So, the question ought to be “which cloud accounting software do I choose?” and the answer is simple – Xero.

How can Xero help?

Xero is by far the most popular cloud accounting software in the UK – and with good reason. It acts as the financial hub of your business, bringing together important functions such as bookkeeping, accounting, invoicing, and reporting.

Whether you have MTD in mind or not, making the switch to the cloud with Xero will undoubtedly bear fruit for your organisation. In fact, the features and benefits are there for all to see:

  • A clean and clear dashboard provides an at-a-glance overview of your key numbers, meaning you’re always in control.
  • A live bank feed keeps everything up-to-date.
  • Online invoicing means you can invoice directly to customers, log sales straight into Xero, and follow up with late payers in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Financial reports give you the opportunity to see your balance sheet, profit and loss, or cash report at any given time, and all with real-time, accurate numbers.

Where Making Tax Digital is concerned, Xero is already a step ahead. It can:

  • Automatically calculate tax (including VAT and payroll tax).
  • Pull financial data directly from your bank, invoicing software, or point of sale system.
  • Update transactions daily, keeping you on top of bank reconciliation.
  • Create digital records of paper receipts and bills via its smartphone app.

All of this combines to provide you with a clear picture of your business’s financial performance and tax liabilities, keeping you organised and ready to meet your next tax payment, or sidestep your next cash flow concern. In short, by introducing a cloud accounting system like Xero, you’ll take the change to Making Tax Digital in your stride.

Get Ready for MTD with Saint and Xero

There are no two ways about it, change is scary. Especially if it means implementing technology you’ve never used before. But Making Tax Digital could be a huge positive for your business. Filing returns quarterly could make tax less taxing, and allow you the opportunity to better plan for the future.

And by making the switch to Xero, not only will you be prepared for MTD, you’ll also have accurate financial information at your fingertips, helping you spot opportunities and threats faster than ever before.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, simply click the link to Get Started with Xero, or call us on 01228 534 371 to chat with one of our friendly advisors.

Making Tax Digital

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These changes apply to everyone including you: 

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are making revolutionary changes to the tax system which will be launched in 2018. These changes are named Making Tax Digital (MTD). But what does Making Tax Digital mean for businesses and you?  In practical terms Making Tax Digital impacts on your business by requiring the mandatory keeping of digital records in a format acceptable to HMRC and the submission to HMRC of quarterly accounts figures.

What is it? 

  • HMRC is rolling out Digital Tax Accounts and with that, digital record keeping for businesses and landlords. The self-employed, companies and some individuals will need to submit details of income and expenditure on a quarterly basis plus a final year-end update.
  • New businesses will need to make a first return within four months of start-up.
  • MTD is intended to improve the accuracy of business records and minimise errors through the use of new technology.
  • At present, there are no plans to change the tax payment dates although a voluntary ‘pay as you go’ system will be introduced.

Who does it affect?

  • MTD will affect all businesses, including landlords; very few will be exempt. The main exemption will be for landlords and the self-employed with turnover below £10,000.
  • Some businesses may apply for an exemption on the grounds of insufficient internet infrastructure (however, HMRC expects this to be minimal), religion or medical conditions (these will be checked rather than accepted at face value).
  • Charities and community amateur sports clubs will also be exempt, but can voluntarily comply.

What does this mean? 

  • Businesses will have to submit details of their income and expenditure electronically on a quarterly basis, with a month to do this from the end of each quarter.
  • The quarterly updates and the year-end adjustments will be compulsory, and there will be penalties for non-compliance.
  • You will have to start keeping your accounting records and books digitally to allow the transfer of the data to HMRC in the prescribed format.
  • HMRC will not provide software; businesses will need to buy their own MTD compatible software. It is expected that free software will be available to the smallest businesses only.
  • MTD will apply for most unincorporated businesses and landlords for income tax and National Insurance from April 2018. There will be a one year delay for small businesses and landlords where the annual turnover is less than the VAT threshold.
  • MTD will apply from April 2019 for VAT and from April 2020 for corporation tax.

The Solution

  • The revolutionary changes to the tax system mean that the partners and staff of Saint & Co are actively involved in MTD, including attending courses to keep up-to-date with the latest HMRC legislation & guidelines. We are also working with our accounting software suppliers so that we can provide clients with the accounting package necessary to enable you to keep your ‘Digital Accounting Records’ as required by HMRC.
  • As yet HMRC have not issued the final definitive guide to MTD but we do have an outline of the new system. We will over the next year provide further information and discuss with you, the improvements or necessary changes required to your accounting systems and records so that you conform with HMRC requirements.
  • Should you wish to discuss MTD sooner then please do not hesitate to contact the partner looking after your affairs.
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