One in 10 businesses miss first MTD for VAT filing deadline

An estimated 120,000 businesses have missed the deadline to sign up for Making Tax Digital for VAT, meaning that technically they should be due a penalty from HMRC

Last-minute efforts by HMRC including updates on gov.uk as well as a series of TV adverts by software developers has pushed MTD compliance over 90%. In the four-week period running up to the 7 August deadline nearly 500,000 businesses signed up to MTD. In total, 1.2m businesses in the UK were due to sign up to MTD for VAT.

Some 1.08m businesses are now signed up and compliant with the digital reporting rules for businesses and sole traders over the VAT registration threshold of £85,000, bar those exempt until 1 October deadline.

The taxman is taking a more lenient approach than normal on penalties for the first year of MTD and has repeatedly stressed that it will not be charging fines in the usual way.

HMRC has acknowledged that ‘businesses will need time to become familiar with the new requirements of MTD. During the first year of implementation, we will not issue filing or record keeping penalties where businesses are doing their best to comply. However, sanctions will remain possible in cases of deliberate non-compliance, and in order to safeguard VAT revenue’.

In terms of exemptions, anyone who is already exempt from online filing of VAT remains so under MTD and there is further provision for those who cannot adapt to the new service due to factors such as age, disability, or location to apply for an exemption.

With so many businesses still yet to actually sign up and comply with MTD the news that HMRC will not issue them with fines will be a massive relief. However, HMRC will not keep waiving fines indefinitely, which means business owners simply won’t be able to keep putting off getting themselves MTD-ready for long.

Brearley & Co can advise you in regard to your MTD requirements. Contact us if you need advice.

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