HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has launched a pilot for the Making Tax Digital for VAT service, inviting more than half a million businesses to try it ahead of new rules coming into force in April 2019.
It is part of the broader Making Tax Digital programme, which is shifting most of HMRC’s interactions with businesses to digital channels.
Under Making Tax Digital for VAT, which is scheduled to come into effect on 1 April 2019, around 1 million businesses registered for the tax with a taxable turnover above £85,000 will need to keep the relevant records digitally and file their returns using compatible software. A small group of customers with more complex requirements are being given a further six months to prepare.
HMRC said it will make it easier for businesses and their agents to manage their tax, and has urged any qualifying businesses to take part in the pilot to overcome any problems before the system’s use becomes mandatory.
The pilot has opened for around half a million businesses whose affairs are up to date and straightforward, and will extend to most other business types over the coming months.
Mel Stride, the financial secretary to the Treasury, said: “HMRC is transforming the tax administration so that it’s more effective, more efficient and easier for taxpayers. Today’s announcement means that around half a million businesses will be able to join Making Tax Digital and start filing their VAT returns online, making it easier to get their tax right first time.”