CEOs welcome: A busy start to 2023
Helen Whiteman and Jane Ashton share their plans for the new year.
Happy New Year. We hope that you all managed to have a break over the festive period and that January was not too stressful for those of you involved in submitting some of the 5.7 million tax returns that were still outstanding at the beginning of January.
The big story over the festive period was the announcement on 19 December that Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self-Assessment (MTD for ITSA) would be further delayed, with the first taxpayers now not coming into scope until April 2026. This delay was welcomed by both the CIOT and ATT, especially as a recent survey of members showed that 97% did not think that MTD for ITSA could be successfully introduced from the planned date of April 2024 (see bit.ly/3IKGIf4). Many thanks to those of you who responded to this survey, which underlined the importance of a delay and a rethink of HMRC’s plans.
Although we now have an extra two years to get ready for MTD for ITSA, we shouldn’t be complacent, as there is much to achieve in that time. The ATT, CIOT and LITRG technical teams will continue to work closely with HMRC to ensure that members’ views are heard.
The other recent hot topic has been HMRC’s service levels, with members continuing to report delays and issues across all taxes. We appreciate the frustration this is causing, and continue to work closely with HMRC and raise issues through a number of different channels. If you have any examples you are able to share, please send these to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
We were pleased to see that taxpayers can set up a Time To Pay (TTP) arrangement with HMRC through an easy, straightforward online service which has no human intervention. With the cost-of-living crisis putting an enormous financial strain on households up and down the country, it’s probably a good time to remind your clients who may struggle to pay their tax bill that this is available, and they don’t need to speak to anyone to do it. The service can be used (within 60 days of the payment deadline) where the tax due is less than £30,000, the payment terms required are less than 12 months, and there are no other plans or debts with HMRC. Those that don’t qualify to use the online service can still contact HMRC to arrange a TTP, and having a plan agreed by the end of the month will ensure that the 5% penalty is not incurred.
We have written in previous editions about the Natural Capital Working group which is coordinated by the ATT. Having gathered together a range of interested parties, we are now meeting with HMRC to discuss some of the problems that members are seeing in practice with the Woodland Carbon Code. Under this scheme, landowners can earn money by selling ‘carbon credits’ based on the amount of carbon dioxide taken up by trees planted on their land. This and other similar schemes to capture greenhouse gases through natural processes are becoming increasingly popular but there are a large number of tax and accounting issues and HMRC is keen to understand more about what members are seeing in practice. Examples of scenarios where current tax laws create uncertainty or disincentives would be welcome via firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are pleased to report that our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy has been adopted by both the ATT and CIOT Councils, please look at this on page 34. The strategy has been written as a result of the comments and suggestions that members and students made in the EDI survey we carried out last year. We will be working with the EDI Committee to take forward the actions and will provide updates throughout the year.
A new design for the Tax Adviser magazine website will be launched this month. Please take a look when you get the email and if you want to opt out of receiving hard copies of Tax Adviser magazine please let our Membership Team know at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ATT website has also been upgraded to the latest software version, so you will notice a few changes later this month which we hope you will like. If anyone has any feedback on the site please email Jane (email@example.com) as we are keen to make it as user friendly as possible for our 1.5 million audience.