Most small firms are not ready for digital accounts

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The overwhelming majority of business owners and landlords remain in the dark over making tax digital (MTD), government research shows.

Ipsos Mori polled 2,900 small businesses and landlords on behalf of HMRC and found that 71% were unaware of the requirement to submit quarterly updates to the taxman.

A further 13% had heard of the requirements but knew nothing about them.

Subject to any further change, MTD will mean most businesses and the self-employed access their tax affairs online through digital accounts from 2020.

As it stands, VAT-registered businesses will be the first to submit quarterly reports to HMRC – for VAT only – from April 2019.

Though many SMEs were unaware of the specific requirements of MTD, most (70%) were willing to comply with it.

40% said they wanted guidance on how to prepare for MTD, and 72% said they would ask an accountant or tax agent for advice.

Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:

“This new report highlights how much work is needed to enable the small business community to reap the benefits of digital tax reporting.

“The fact that so many firms don’t even know MTD is on the way is a real concern.

“Clearly, there needs to be a big push to get the message out there.”

A live MTD pilot scheme is due to start in spring 2018, following a successful small-scale testing phase which got under way at the end of 2017.

Contact us for advice on digital tax reporting.

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