Taxation Practitioners - Accountants & Auditors

Office Hours: 10am to 2pm Mon/Fri


6 Gordon Avenue - Highams Park - London E4 9QU

Telephone (Skype): Martin.Levin1066

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It’s been a busy year, and as such this has delayed the production of this newsletter, but it does incorporate the “Autumn”? Finance/Budget statement of 22 November 2017.

Making Tax Digital has become similar to Brexit.  Although it was announced in December 2015 by the then Chancellor George Osborn, its implementation has been put back at least twice.  The latest start date for full implementation is April 2020, although for certain people (those that are VAT Registered, and Landlords) it will be mandatory from April 2019.  The basis started with a government decided that smartphones were used by so many “businesses” that it would be easy for them to scan a copy of a receipt, and that would be uploaded to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) computer system.  [Please refer to our last year’s Newsletter about a scan code to access our entry into the digital record world “app”], this is reproduced below:

The “app” MLevinABC, can be accessed on both iPhones (Mac) using the link:

as well as Android ‘phones via the usual website Google-play-store: Making Tax Digital problem was thus was passed to the software houses, and there was not going to be any access by accountants (HMRC calls us “Agents”) to clients Personal Tax Account – about which we wrote to all our clients previously. As the software houses were likely to make a charge (they are not charities) we have monitored their publicity, but at the moment, we cannot sanction any one specific one, but we have honed in on two.  Frequent communications over the past months to each client, have updated Making Tax Digital.  BUT as it won’t go away, we must prepare clients to face up to this fact, and that their paper records of book-keeping will have to be superseded by using a digital book-keeping system.

What will be the future of accountants? In the Digital Age, as taxpayers will be keeping their own records, and filing these with HMRC, it could be seen that accountants will be redundant. Far from it as most client’s dislike dealing directly with “the taxman”.  Therefore, it is mooted that before a client sends data to HMRC, they will channel it through their accountants.  It will also be back to the original function of accountants to provide the “service” that they were always trained for, but which clients might only use a fraction of these skills.

As well as our normal visits to tax lectures, which keep us up-to-date, to provide you, as clients, the best service, we also subscribe to Webinars put out by HMRC.  The latter have escalated phenomenally over the past few months, which eat into our time.  In return, your promptness in dealing with our requests is greatly appreciated, and much treasured.

Payroll has had its complexities further expanded as Automatic Enrolment has started to be implemented.  If anyone expected a smooth transition, it has not come to pass, as again, we are being inundated with third party operators issuing countless e-mails, etc. 

The expansion of National Insurance, for both employees, employers, and the truly self-employed has developed further into a myriad of complexity.  The previously announced proposed abolishing of the Class 2 National Insurance “stamp”, which adds around £145.60  to a self-assessment tax bill for a self-employed person, has been re-scheduled for abolishment on 6 April 2018, when  the Class 4 “contribution” will be reformed to include a new threshold (to be called the Small Profits Limit).  Contractors who provide services to the public sector, have been brought, under IR35, to be taxed as employees as from April 2017.  This has caused a drain on specialists willing to work there.

Errors by HMRC have, sadly, been on the increase over the past year.  Our practice has had to report/appeal three separate cases to the Adjudicator over slow, and inefficient practice meted out by its Value Added Tax division. Paltry compensation has resulted, but the Adjudicator has directed to the VAT Man that a fairer compensation be considered.  Interestingly, while others may have to account to a Freedom of Information request, the ones that we made asking for the hours spent, the reply has been that “we do not have to keep that information”.  As business people, we would surely not stand for that?