My previous MTD blog was in September last year. Then, I wrote that the whole MTD project was a bit like Spike Milligan’s description of war – lots of boring periods when nothing much happens, and then a great amount of excitement in a very short space of time. Actually, there has been no excitement whatsoever for quite a long time, but things seem to be starting to move again.
I received an email from a lady who seemed to work for HMRC, asking me to participate in an online session about software choices for MTD. I can only presume this is because I’ve been part of the user group who have been helping HMRC with MTD thus far, but when the call took place it became clear that she was actually a third-party researcher. She didn’t know that I had been previously involved in this project and also assumed I didn’t know much, if anything, about MTD. When it became clear that I did, we proceeded to the main purpose of the call, which was to ask my opinion about a range of services that might be available online as part of the MTD service from HMRC.
This was interesting, not only for the options on offer, but also because it suggests to me that HMRC are already quite advanced, at least in that they already have a great number of software suppliers signed up to their service, but, on the other hand, they also seem to be still pondering what might be the things they would provide via any software they offer to businesses in the future.
As far as the number of software suppliers already able to link in with HMRC for submitting returns is concerned there are a considerable number (see screenshot below) but not, at the time of writing, the supplier I use, namely FreeAgent. The last time I communicated with FreeAgent about this they said it was not a priority. Clearly, it’s important that all the major suppliers (of which FreeAgent is one) are able to integrate fully with HMRC for MTD. It would be worth checking if your own supplier is on the list, and if not, asking why and when they intend to be.
Secondly, the exercise in which I was asked to rank a list of services into a number of different categories - “Core features,” “Interesting features,” etc. as per the screen-grab below suggests to me those types of services/software that are likely to feature in HMRC’s final MTD software.
Finally, for what it’s worth, I’ve included a screenshot of my own choices, not because I think these are definitive (obviously, they reflect my own business needs) but because I hope they might make you consider what you would like to see in the final version of the MTD software that HMRC produces. I can see no reason why you should not communicate with either your accountant (if it’s not M&S) and/or HMRC about this. While I know they will probably defer to the results from the user group, if they receive a lot of demand for one thing or the other then you would hope (fingers crossed) that they would take note and respond. We can but hope as this stuff really does matter. MTD, despite the radio silence from HMRC over the last few months, is not going away and it therefore behooves HMRC to listen to their customers (even if we are reluctant customers!) and get it right!
Alastair Blair, thePotentMix