Making Tax Digital (MTD) is a key part of the Government’s plans to build a trusted modern tax administration system, making it easier for individuals and businesses to get their tax right first time, keep on top of their tax affairs, and reduce avoidable errors.
MTD for Value Added Tax (VAT) was rolled-out in 2019 and over 1.4 million taxpayers have now signed up. Additionally, around a quarter of smaller VAT-registered businesses that are not yet required to use MTD for VAT have chosen to do so voluntarily.
Our user research and independent evaluation activity to date has shown us that fully automated MTD software can deliver a wide range of benefits to those businesses that use it, such as reductions in input errors and increased productivity. The Government is committed to extending the digitisation benefits associated with MTD even further, including to those businesses that have incorporated to become companies. This will not apply before 2026 at the very earliest, and only after the introduction of a pilot of MTD for Corporation Tax (CT).
HMRC recently launched a consultation on the design of MTD for CT in order to explore how the principles established for MTD should be extended to Corporation Tax taxpayers. This consultation seeks to capture the views and opinions of those that would be affected by or that have an interest in this change, and explore a number of areas such as the scope of MTD for CT and how software can be used.
We have published a document that sets out the key areas we are exploring within this consultation. This can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/making-tax-digital-for-corporation-tax.
We would very much welcome feedback from charities and their representative bodies on the design of MTD for CT. We have scheduled a virtual event specifically for charities and would welcome as much representation as possible from the sector. This will take place on 9th February 2021, from 10.30am until 12pm. If you have an interest in attending, please contact us at [email protected].
We are welcoming written responses as part of our consultation at any time, via the above dedicated mailbox. The consultation will close on 5th March 2021. We also recently launched a streamlined online version of the consultation to provide a fast and accessible opportunity to review key summarised sections of the consultation and answer short questions to provide feedback on those areas. This can also be found at the link above. The most relevant section of the consultation for charities can be found below.
Charities, Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) and other not-for-profit organisations
6.4. The government’s 2017 response to the ‘Bringing business tax into the digital age’ consultation stated that the non-trading activities of charities would be outside the scope of MTD. However, charitable trading subsidiaries would remain in the scope of MTD, to maintain parity with other trading entities with whom they are often in direct competition.
6.5. Many charities, CASCs and not for profit organisations are within the scope of the charge to CT but are exempted because of the tax reliefs available to them. However, on occasion, they are required to file a tax return. Other such entities have nonexempt income and currently need to complete a Company Tax Return and pay tax.
6.6. MTD for VAT has shown that, at least for larger charities, operating the MTD requirements has not proved to be more than difficult than for a comparable business. Moreover, discouraging some charities from joining MTD by in effect making it voluntary will mean many will not get the benefits of going digital that other entities will enjoy. There is also a risk that software developers will not deliver products that meet the specific needs of charities if demand is unnecessarily suppressed. Given this, the government now proposes that this consultation seeks views on extending the scope of MTD for CT to all charities that are within the scope of CT and who are required to file a Company Tax Return.
Question 19: Should charities, CASCs and other not for profit organisations, be within the scope of MTD for CT where they have income within the charge to CT and required to complete a Company Tax Return? If not, please explain why you consider an alternative approach is necessary for charities and what criteria should be applied to assess eligibility for this?
6.7. Whilst the aim in designing MTD for CT is to ensure that the obligations can be fulfilled by any entity within the charge to CT, the government is aware that some not for profit organisations may consider they require a tailored MTD service design. This tailored approach could be aimed at supporting the smallest entities in simplifying digital interactions with HMRC – in particular, filing returns.
6.8. The government welcomes views from charities, CASCs and other not for profit organisations on how MTD requirements might best be tailored to work for them
This article was prepared by officials from HMRC’s Making Tax Digital for Consultation team.