The Government has announced that it plans to delay the full implementation of digital taxation until 2020.
Making Tax Digital (MTD), the details of which will be included in the upcoming Finance Bill for 2017, has already faced a number of delays and was placed on hold before the snap general election in June.
However, the Government has now revealed that businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold (£85,000) will have to keep digital records and report them on a quarterly basis from 2019.
Initially these businesses only need to record VAT-related tax in the first year, before a much wider role out in 2020 – delaying the roll out date by more than a year and exempting a large number of sole traders, landlords and micro-businesses.
For other businesses below the threshold, MTD will be available on a voluntary basis and they will not be asked to keep digital records, or to update HMRC quarterly, for other taxes until at least 2020.
The Government will start testing the system on a small scale at the end of this year, before running a live pilot in spring 2018.
Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General said: “Businesses agree that digitising the tax system is the right direction of travel. However, many have been worried about the scope and pace of reforms.”
She said that the Government was launching the new digital system “in a way that is right for all businesses” and pledged that they would not “widen the scope of MTD beyond VAT before the system has been shown to work well, and not before April 2020 at the earliest.”
Under the Government’s previous plans, all businesses, landlords and self-employed taxpayers with an annual turnover of £10,000 or more would have been required to register, file, pay, and update their information online each quarter under MTD by 2020, with some businesses beginning the process as early as April 2018.