In recognition of the challenges to many businesses due to the pandemic, the government has delayed the introduction of Making Tax Digital (MTD) for income tax self-assessment (ITSA) by a further year.
MTD will not be mandatory for self-employed individuals and landlords until accounting periods commencing on or after 6 April 2024. The start date for general partnerships (those with only individuals as partners) will now be from April 2025, with the date for other types of partnerships still to be confirmed. The planned April 2026 commencement date for MTD for corporation tax now also seems uncertain.
The one-year delay means that:
- The reform of the basis period rules for unincorporated businesses has been pushed back until at least April 2024, with the transition year no earlier than 2023 – so yet another change that now appears less certain than previously.
- The new penalties for late payments and late submissions will now no longer apply to the self-employed and landlords (mandated to use MTD for ITSA) until April 2024, with other ITSA taxpayers included a year later.
Although the delay will be welcomed by the majority of businesses, a delay is all it is. There is no change to the entry point (taxable turnover from self-employment and/or income from property over £10,000), nor to the requirement to keep digital records and provide quarterly returns using third-party software to HMRC.
HMRC has estimated the average transitional cost of becoming digital as £330, with an annual cost of £35 per business, although that assumes no new hardware will be required.
The delay will mean that more software packages are available before MTD for ITSA comes in, and there will be more opportunity to join the pilot scheme. If you are self-employed or a landlord, you should make the most of the extra time to ensure your business is ready come April 2024.