Minister refuses delay to tax filing changes

It should eventually make filing their accounts easier, but a new online format that all small companies must use to pay the taxman from April is causing concern for getting the all-clear despite unsolved teething problems.

In an appeal for Revenue & Customs to delay the mandatory transition to the format (iXBRL), a host of leading tax experts told officials that firms not receiving the software, or struggling with set-up issues, made the April 1st deadline unfair.

David Gauke, exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, responded to the concerns this week but, in doing so, said the change for self-assessment taxpayers would still go ahead as planned, partly because with any new format “there will always be implementation challenges”. 

Although his follow-up pledge that HMRC would adopt a ‘light touch’ in ushering in the changes, including sympathy for unfamiliarity with the software or delays in receiving it, is welcome, the Chartered Institute of Taxation said it was disappointed.

“This decision will come as a blow to some businesses and members of the professional bodies who are struggling with implementation, due to the insufficiency of time between software arriving and the legislation commencing on 1 April 2011.”

“However I welcome the minister’s recognition that there will be a soft landing for the changes”, added CIOT deputy president Anthony Thomas.  “HMRC have also agreed to provide a dedicated email address for agents and businesses to contact them where they are unable to produce iXBRL accounts.”

From April 1st, all companies and organisations will have to use the new format from HMRC to file their company tax return online and pay corporation tax, as well as related payments, electronically, such as by Direct Debit.



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