The taxman will give “plenty of time” to run a consultation on plans to fully digitise the tax returns system, despite pushing back the process until after the EU Referendum.
Concerns have been raised that such a delay could truncate the consultation process given that beta tests for the quarterly system are slated to commence in July, while advisers are supposed to be able to manage clients’ affairs from December, reports sister publication Accountancy Age.
Tax policy expert at AAT Brian Palmer said: “While it is extremely disappointing that the publication of the Making Tax Digital consultation documents has now been postponed until after the EU Referendum has taken place, from my perspective I can fully understand this decision.
“Making Tax Digital is going to be such a fundamental change and will have such ramifications that we do want the full attention of individuals and businesses alike when we finally do get the consultation documents.”
An HMRC spokesman said: “The consultations will be released after the referendum giving plenty of time for review and feedback.”
Last month, Treasury Select Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie expressed concerns over the burden the move would place on taxpayers – particularly businesses.
“This would entail the use of designated software packages. It would have an impact on large businesses (who may not currently have accounting systems which are compatible with HMRC’s requirements) as much as on small businesses, who may not use computers,” he warned in a letter to fellow Conservative David Gauke.
The Association of Tax Technicians (ATT) has called on HMRC to delay the digital programme by a year to avoid “huge embarrassment” if it fails to work properly.
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