Accountants urge Cotswold businesses to prepare for next year’s VAT reporting overhaul

An accountancy firm is urging Cotswold businesses to begin preparations for a major digital overhaul of the VAT reporting process, which will come into effect in April next year.

Professionals at McGills Chartered Accountants, which has offices in Cirencester and Malmesbury, are issuing the warning with just months to go before the VAT regime for businesses with a turnover of £85,000 or more a year moves to a system of digital quarterly reporting using ‘designated software packages’.

This is the first stage in the implementation of the Government’s Making Tax Digital programme, which is intended to take the filing of most taxes online in the coming years.

Alison Palmer, a Partner at McGills Chartered Accountants, said: “To ensure they are ready for the requirements of Making Tax Digital for VAT, businesses will need to have a computer-based accounting package, such as Xero, Sage or Quickbooks in place.

“These packages will not only future-proof businesses against the demands of each new Making Tax Digital requirement over the coming years, they will also enable them to quickly produce bills and invoices.

“Any business with a turnover of £85,000 or more that does not have a computer-based accountancy package in place should look to have one in place as soon as possible to ensure the transition to Making Tax Digital is as stress-free as possible.

“Our team of specialists is experienced in assisting businesses with a wide range of packages.”

Keeping digital records and making quarterly updates will not be made mandatory for other taxes before April 2020 at the earliest.

This timetable is considerably different from the one that was originally proposed by the Government, restricting the number of businesses that will be immediately affected.

McGills Chartered Accountants will be issuing regular email updates to keep businesses informed of the steps they need to take to prepare for the implementation of Making Tax Digital. Anyone wishing to sign up for the updates should email partners@mcgills.co.uk.