HMRC is phasing in its Making Tax Digital regime, which will ultimately require taxpayers to move to a fully digital tax system. Under the new rules, businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) must keep digital records for VAT purposes and provide their VAT return information to HMRC using MTD functional compatible software.
The new rules take effect from 1 April 2019 where a taxpayer has a 'prescribed accounting period' which begins on that date, or otherwise from the first day of a taxpayer's first prescribed accounting period beginning after 1 April 2019. For some VAT-registered businesses with more complex requirements, the rules will not take effect until 1 October 2019. Included in the deferred start date category are VAT divisions, VAT groups and businesses using the annual accounting scheme.
In the Spring Statement the Chancellor confirmed that the focus will be on supporting businesses to transition and the government will therefore not be mandating MTD for any new taxes or businesses in 2020.