It is fair to conclude that Mrs May’s ambitions suffered a set-back Thursday last week. She is now attempting to manage a minority government, and Brexit apart, there are other outstanding legislative matters that demand her attention.
One is the remainder of the Finance Bill 2017, that was placed in abeyance in order to accommodate the recent election. Thankfully, Philip Hammond seems to be continuing at number 11, and hopefully, this will result in a degree of continuity regarding the management of the UK’s finances.
Certainly, our job as advisors to the business community, was to a degree placed in purdah, much like the civil service, during the recent campaigning period. One major tax change that was deferred, and is still part of the Finance Bill (in abeyance) 2017, is the matter of progress towards the implementation of HMRC’s Making Tax Digital program. The Bill defines the terms and dates on which the process will commence. Without this legislation reaching the statute books, there is no certainty. Key questions will be subject to speculation, including: will self-employed traders, including landlords, with turnover in excess of the current VAT registration limit, be required to upload their summarised accounts data to HMRC from April 2018?
Tax and accounting software providers must be biting their nails, as over 600 are presently investing in providing links for their users such that uploads from their software can be facilitated from April next year. In fact, as we have said before, Making Tax Digital data uploads can only be provided in this way – by third parties. HMRC are not providing direct access to taxpayers.
Let us hope that there will be a business-like return to parliament, and that the remaining sections of the Finance Bill will be enacted so we all have some certainty. Without this, it is hard to see how we can advise clients, or plan for changes in law that may or may not occur.