HMRC has been urged to scale up its pilots of Making Tax Digital (MTD). It has also been asked to invest in a major publicity campaign for the project.

The call came from the Association of Taxation Technicians. Its President Graham Batty said “Pleased as we are about the relaxation in the timetable for quarterly reporting and digital record keeping – and proud of the part we played in making it happen – this is still an area requiring close and immediate attention from both tax professionals and policy-makers. The pilots which HMRC have begun need to be scaled up, run over a full financial cycle and fully evaluated. That means checking not just the reports can be made but that those reports are accurate. And assessing and publishing the compliance costs for the businesses taking part.”

The ATT is concerned that many small businesses do not fully appreciate the impact the obligations of MTD will have on them. For this reason, the organisation wants HMRC to ensure that it has an adequate budget to enable it to mount a substantial publicity campaign to explain to businesses what MTD is and how they can prepare for it.

It was in July that the government decided to defer compulsory digital record keeping as well as quarterly reporting until April 2020 for landlords and small businesses for income tax purposes. The original start date was April 2019.

This delay has given smaller businesses more time to familiarise themselves with digital record keeping. It will also give them time to find the right processes and software for their businesses.