14 September 2017
On 6 September 2017 the long awaited Finance Bill (Finance Bill 2017-19 as it has been entitled) was presented to Parliament and began the process to become law. It appears to be largely as expected; a re-tabling of pretty much the same content that was dropped from the original Finance Bill when the snap general election caused the dissolution of Parliament and all parliamentary business that was in progress had to be enacted or scrapped.
There are many clauses which are intended to be effective from April 2017, in line with what the Treasury told us to expect over the summer. It still feels rather bizarre to think that, for example, the limitations on salary sacrifice have been in effect for almost six months despite the complete uncertainty which existed when the election was called and the uncertainty which still remains given that the Bill is not yet enacted.
One area which has changed markedly since the original publication is the Making Tax Digital (MTD) regime. Whilst the clauses in Finance Bill 2017-19 are largely as they were, this reflects that the original clauses were a hopeless stop gap measure which did little more than open the door for Government to introduce some actual rules and regulations by secondary legislation (i.e. Statutory Instrument) at some later date, once they’d got a grip of how the system might actually work.
It will be interesting, given the damning criticism the original proposals received from the House of Lords, to see whether the upper house is content to let this door opening legislation pass through on the basis of HMRC’s moderated timetable for implementation, or whether the fundamental approach to law-making offends them sufficiently to send the Bill back down.
We’ve previously published a number of blogs highlighting the pressure and criticism surrounding the MTD regime, most recently highlighting the new deferred timetable for Income Tax and Corporation Tax implementation.
MTD pilot takes off
However, if anyone thinks that means the MTD programme is dead in the water, think again.
Here at the Letchworth office we are registered for a new HMRC MTD agent account, and have started the registration process to take part in the pilot programme, shortly expecting to volunteer our first self-employed clients into quarterly reporting. The pilot is somewhat behind target and still in a controlled infancy, but will no doubt gather pace in the coming months and years. Since its announcement a couple of years ago UHY Hacker Young have been committed to being ahead of the curve in order to best advise and serve our client base, and our participation in this early stage of the piloting will help maintain that commitment.
To find out more or if you are interested in taking part in the pilot programme I can be contacted on 01462 687333 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively if you’d like to find out more about digital record keeping and the benefits it can bring regardless of MTD my colleague Adam continues to run free of charge Xero workshops for which you can register here.