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Preparing for Digital Business Records
Lost or forgotten
HMRC believe that a lot of small businesses don't pay the right amount of tax on their profits.
This is because they delay writing up their accounting records to the end of the year; in the meantime some receipts are lost and bits of income are forgotten. To resolve this problem, HMRC will require businesses to record their expenses and income digitally, as near to the date of payment or receipt as possible. HMRC think that simple accounting software, such as an app on your smart phone, will make this task easy to do. Free software may be available for very simple businesses.
Most unincorporated businesses and landlords will also have to report a summary of their income and expenses to HMRC, within one month of the end of each quarter. The accounting software may help to do this, but we can check that the correct information is submitted. These changes are collectively called: Making Tax Digital, but we suspect it is going to feel like 'making tax difficult' for many businesses.
Those with low levels of income (we don't know the threshold yet) won't be required to make quarterly reports to HMRC. Also, slightly larger unincorporated businesses won't need to make quarterly reports until after 5 April 2019.The current timetable envisages that all companies will be making quarterly reports from April 2020. But HMRC have not specified exactly what will be required to be reported by companies or by complex partnerships, so we expect this timetable to slip.
The best way to prepare for this digital revolution is to get into the habit of recording your income and expenses using some form of accounting software. We can help you choose and implement the right software for your business.