Why would Stornoway-based businesspeople be crowded into the Croft Suite at the Caladh Inn on James Street today (Wednesday February 13th) at breakfast-time?

It was to hear about VAT and how the payments are going totally digital from April as HMRC implements its Making Tax Digital strategy.

And there is not just a change at the Taxman’s end of the equations…MTD means companies have to have appropriate accounts software and it has to be compatible with HMRC’s technology.

John Moffat and Andy Cumming, from accountants Mann Judd Gordon, explained the situation as it affects almost all companies with £85,000+ turnover – and will soon affect every business.

This was one of several seminars which Mann Judd Gordon were hoping to hold about MTD across the Outer Hebrides on Wednesday 13 February.

The seminars covered the new Making Tax Digital rules that are coming in to force from 1 April.

Representatives from Xero, an online accounting package, were also present in order to demonstrate how this software can keep a business compliant with the rules and also bring many other benefits to the organisation.

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is an HMRC initiative “designed to make sure the UK tax system is effective, efficient and easier for taxpayers.

“Making Tax Digital for business (MTDfb) begins on 1 April 2019 with MTD for VAT.

“From that date, VAT-registered businesses above the threshold of £85,000 will have to keep digital records and submit VAT returns using compatible software.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/software-for-sending-income-tax-updates#check-tool

Other components of Making Tax Digital, such as income tax and corporation tax, have been placed on hold until April 2020 at the earliest.

John Moffat said: “Anyone who is currently not on a system, or is on one which is not compliant, action is required…it’s coming for everybody.  This is the direction of travel, it’s just something we are going to have to embrace…there is no escape, just don’t sit with your head in the sand and ignore this.”