Friday, December 15, 2017

Countryside concern over plan to make tax digital

November 30, 2016 by  
Filed under News & Business

taxreturn

Rural business leaders have voiced concerns over government plans to force taxpayers to submit tax information online.

The Country Land and Business Association said the HM Revenue cialis psychologique and Customs (HMRC) initiative to make tax digital would be difficult for for farmers and other businesses in the countryside to implement without fast and reliable broadband.

Plans to digitise all tax-related accounting is due to be phased in from 2018 onwards. But the CLA said poor digital connectivity in rural areas and the lack of an HMRC plan to undertake comprehensive user testing of the new system could throw the rural economy into chaos.

CLA president Ross Murray said: “It is vitally important to help everyone achieve tax compliance. We support new technology which aims to make life simpler for businesses but the Government must look at the whole picture before making tax digital.

“Current broadband technology in the UK means download speeds are faster than upload speeds, so the Government must reassure businesses they will not be unfairly penalised as a result of poor connectivity when trying to complete and submit tax information online.”

Mr Murray said rural businesses could suffer and HMRC could experience similar problems to the Rural Payments Agency when it digitised the Basic Payment System for farmers without the right broadband infrastructure in place or ensuring the new digital system was fully tested.

“It is crucial in view of previous government digital systems failures such as the RPA that HMRC should reflect on the lessons learned from that project to avoid a serious breakdown in the system which would cause yet more chaos for the rural economy.”

The CLA says the government should implement the system with the largest businesses first to thoroughly test and iron out issues before rolling out its plan to 3.5 million smaller companies and micro-businesses.

It also wants implementation delayed by at least one year to enable user testing to take place over a full tax year cycle. Rural businesses need reassurance they won’t be unfairly penalised as a result of poor digital connectivity, says the CLA.

The CLA wants the exemption threshold increased from £10,000 to at least match the VAT threshold (currently £83,000) so the cost of the system will not be an overwhelming burden to the smallest businesses and affect their profitability.

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