UK tax office urges digitisation to tackle administrative incompetence

4 March 2019

Great Britain – Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is pushing for a digital approach to tax, arguing that businesses reduce time spent on paperwork by testing its Making Tax Digital (MTD) service for submitting returns.

In an unusual statement, HMRC argued that 68% of decision makers working in construction had lost receipts, while 15% had lost a date’s phone number. A poll run by YouGov for HMRC also found that 92% of senior decision makers personally bank online, almost two thirds (62%) support all tax accounts being digitalised and one in four (25%) working in a small business are spending over 10 hours a week on administrative tasks.

Most businesses above the VAT threshold will need to keep their records digitally and submit their VAT return using compatible software when MTD is introduced for periods starting on or after 1 April 2019. In practice, the vast majority of businesses won’t need to send their first MTD return until August at the earliest, but if they aren’t already keeping their records digitally they will need to start doing so.