As the implementation date draws closer I fear that I am not alone in asking what Making Tax Digital is all about in the general sense of what exactly it is achieving.
After the project goes live HMRC get the same nine boxes of data through a new Gateway after replacing a system that worked fine. How can it fail?
However there is just one sneaky little change that has occurred ….. HMRC is policing accountants!
HMRC Regulating Accountants
As part of the new Making Tax Digital for VAT process ALL accountants who wish to file VAT returns have to apply to HMRC for an “Agent Services Account”.
To get this account the accountant has to supply:
- the Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) for their business
- the postcode associated with the UTR reference
- the money laundering supervisor details for the accountant
Money Laundering Supervisor Details
For years those of us who are regulated by our Professional Accountancy bodies (i.e. a qualified accountant) have also been “properly regulated” for money laundering. If you were not regulated for money laundering by a Professional Accountancy body you were supposed to register directly with HMRC for this purpose.
The unregulated accountants (and let’s remember that anyone can call themselves an accountant) didn’t always do that. Most did, some didn’t.
Now those who didn’t are coming unstuck. From what I hear there is a rush to action to register for money laundering with HMRC but in doing this the accountant has to declare how long they have been in Practice. Apparently some are being less than truthful with their Practice start-up date.
Whilst accepting that I am a little cynical in these matters would it be harsh to suggest that there may be a flurry of fines being dished out to those that have been evading compulsory regulation for years?
And therein lies the REAL reason that HMRC continue with this hugely expensive flagship project, spending millions whilst getting the same data as they already get with the rest of the project implementation in jeopardy until after the B word has resolved itself!