Tax & admin · 2 February 2017

One in five micro business owners remain clueless about Making Tax Digital

ABAB
The government isn’t providing enough information about Making Tax Digital

A fifth of UK micro business owners are completely in the dark about the government’s plans for Making Tax Digital, a recent survey has shown.

Despite an eight month-long public consultation by HMRC, 20 per cent of the country’s smallest business owners still have not heard of the initiative, according to survey data from FreeAgent.

Further details about how Making Tax Digital will affect individuals and businesses was released by the government on 31 January.

Prior to this, as many as 84 per cent of Britain’s freelancers and micro business owners claimed the government had failed to provide enough information about Making Tax Digital.

The initiative will require all small business owners to keep digital financial records and provide HMRC with quarterly updates about their tax status by the year 2020.

Although many remain unclear about the details of Making Tax Digital, FreeAgent found that the general feeling among freelancers and micro business owners towards the idea of digital tax was positive.

Some 41 per cent of respondents to the platform’s survey said they thought digital tax was a good idea, while 27 per cent believed the move would have direct benefits to business.

Commenting on the survey findings, FreeAgent co-founder Ed Molyneux said it was clear more needed to be done to educated business owners about Making Tax Digital before the policy began to have an impact in the next few years.

“Making Tax Digital is a great opportunity for business owners to have proper clarity over their finances and be better equipped to calculate and pay their tax bills.

It will be one of the biggest changes made to the UK tax system for generations, and will potentially start to impact businesses from as early as 2018. The good news is that, when micro businesses are well-informed about the changes, they are actually positive about them.

“Only a small minority of people we polled said they felt Making Tax Digital would make life harder. Therefore, we urge the government to keep these business owners fully up to speed with the changes and make sure they clearly explain how and when the proposals will be implemented.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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