Making Tax Digital for Income Tax

The technical team are always interested in receiving feedback from members on all aspects of MTD for Income Tax and hearing about their practical experiences. Please atttechnical [at] att.org.uk (subject: Making%20Tax%20Digital%20for%20Income%20Tax) (email) your information to us.

Please use the menu below to access the latest information on MTD for Income Tax Self-Assessment.

Latest News

Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self-Assessment (MTD for ITSA) delayed until April 2024

In a Written Ministerial Statement issued on 23 September 2021, it was confirmed that MTD for ITSA would be delayed by a further year.

The statement confirms that:

  • MTD for ITSA will be introduced from April 2024 for sole traders and landlords
  • General partnerships will not be required to join MTD for ITSA until April 2025

The statement also indicates that any reform of the basis period rules will not take place until April 2024, with a transitional year not coming into effect earlier than April 2023.

<back to top>

What is MTD for Income Tax Self-Assessment?

Under the requirements of MTD for ITSA, individuals who are subject to income tax on the profits of their trade, profession, vocation or property business will be required to keep their accounting records electronically (either using suitable software or on spreadsheet) and file quarterly returns to HMRC with details of their income and expenditure together with any other information that HMRC specifies. A final end of period statement will then be submitted after the tax year to complete the individual’s tax affairs.

Although the frequency of reporting is to change, the timing of tax payments will not and the current system of payments on account and balancing payment by 31 January after the tax year is expected to remain in place for the foreseeable future.

<back to top>

Timetable for MTD for Income Tax Self-Assessment

On 23 September 2021, HMRC confirmed that MTD for ITSA will be introduced from April 2024, for sole traders and landlords with gross income over £10,000.   All businesses which were in existence immediately before 6 April 2023 will join MTD for ITSA from 6 April 2024, regardless of their accounting period end.

The rules will apply from April 2025 to general partnerships with business or property income that only have individuals as partners.  All other partnerships (e.g. those that have corporate partners and Limited Liability Partnerships) are not required to join MTD for ITSA in April 2025 but will be required to join MTD at a future date (to be confirmed).  

<back to top>

Exemptions from MTD for Income Tax Self-Assessment

Income threshold

In order to be within scope, the individual must have total business or property income above £10,000 per year.

The threshold of £10,000 applies to gross income or turnover, not profit, and it applies to the total gross income where the individual or entity has more than one trade or property business. For example, if the individual has £6,000 of rental income and £7,000 of sales from a sole trader business, they will exceed the limit and be in scope.

More information on how the income threshold will work in practice can be found in our technical article How does the income exemption work for MTD for ITSA?

Digital exclusion

In line with the exemptions for MTD for VAT, individuals should not have to follow the MTD for Income tax rules if any of the following apply:

  • It’s not reasonably practicable for them to use digital tools to keep their business records or submit quarterly returns due to age, disability, remoteness of location or any other reason (often referred to as ‘digital exclusion’).
  • They are subject to an insolvency procedure.
  • The business is run entirely by practising members of a religious society or order whose beliefs are incompatible with using electronic communications or keeping electronic records.

Where any of the above apply, the individual has to apply to HMRC to claim an exemption, with HMRC having 28 days to either grant or deny the application.

We understand that where a business has already qualified for an exemption from MTD for VAT, they will also be exempt from MTD for ITSA.

Other exemptions

The following are also exempt from MTD for ITSA:

  • Non-resident companies
  • Trustees, executors and administrators
  • Foreign businesses of non-UK domiciled individuals.

<back to top>

Reporting requirements

Quarterly updates

All businesses within MTD for ITSA will have to provide quarterly updates of their income and expenses for the following periods, by the following deadlines, regardless of their accounting period end:

  Period covered Filing deadline
Quarterly update 1 6 April to 5 July 5 August
Quarterly update 2 6 July to 5 October 5 November
Quarterly update 3 6 October to 5 January 5 February
Quarterly update 4 6 January to 5 April 5 May

 

Alternatively, businesses can make a 'calendar quarter election' which allows them to draw up quarterly updates to the end of the previous month.  Where this election is made, the quarterly updates will be as follows:

  Period covered Filing deadline
Quarterly update 1 1 April to 30 June 5 August
Quarterly update 2 1 July to 30 September 5 November
Quarterly update 3 1 October to 31 December 5 February
Quarterly update 4 1 January to 31 March 5 May

 

The first quarterly updates under MTD for ITSA will therefore be due for filing by 5 August 2024, and will cover either the quarter ended 5 July 2024, or 30 June 2024 (where a calendar quarter election is in place).

We understand that separate quarterly updates will be required for each trade or property business carried on by an individual.  There is no requirement to make tax or accounting adjustments to the information provided in quarterly updates.

End of Period Statement (EOPS)

The EOPS performs a similar role to the current ITSA return -  i.e. making the required tax and accounting adjustments and finalising the tax position of the trade or business.

The EOPS will, following the implementation of basis period reform, be required to cover the tax year (regardless of the accounting period of the business) and will be due for filing by the normal self-assessment deadline of 31 January following the relevant tax year.

A separate EOPS will be required for each trade or property business carried on by an individual.

Final declaration

Filing the EOPS alone is not enough to finalise a taxpayer’s affairs for any one tax year. Instead, they will also need to submit a final declaration or crystallisation. This will bring together all business and personal information needed to determine their final tax liability, including information from EOPS and information on non-MTD sources of income like dividends and interest.

Unlike the EOPS, only a single final declaration will be required for each taxpayer. This will be due by the normal self-assessment deadline of 31 January following the relevant tax year.

<back to top> 

Agent Services Account (ASA)

In order to access MTD services and to supply updates on behalf of clients, agents need an Agent Services Account (ASA).  This is in effect a new Government Gateway to access the new service.  Each agency will have just one ASA per firm, and will be able to set up staff with administrator or assistant access to the account.  Many firms may already have created an ASA in order to submit MTD for VAT returns or Trust Registration Service returns.  

A basic outline of the ASA and how to set one up can be found here

HMRC publish details of any down time for maintenance or service issues.

<back to top>

HMRC Pilot

HMRC are currently running a limited pilot of MTD for ITSA, though this is expected to expand from April 2022.

Taxpayers and agents can currently only sign up for the pilot through their software provider.

To take part in the pilot, businesses will need to record their income and expenses in MTD compliant software which lets them send quarterly income tax updates to HMRC.  

Likewise, agents that sign clients up to the pilot (including clients whose digital records are being kept by the agent and clients that keep their own digital records) will need a software package that lets them send the updates to HMRC on their clients’ behalf.

The current list of MTD for Income tax compatible software products is set out on GOV.UK  We understand that there are a number of other products at various stages of development and HMRC have said that they will continue to add to this page as new products become available.

Please note that anyone who has received COVID-19 support payments (other than Statutory Sick Pay) is currently not eligible to take part in the pilot.

<back to top>    

Legislation

Enabling primary legislation for MTD for businesses for Income Tax was included in Sections 60 to 61 and Schedule 14 of Finance (No.2) Act 2017.  The explanatory notes to the original Bill can be found here.

Regulations setting out more details on MTD for ITSA were laid on 23 September 2021.

<back to top>

Further information and guidance

Software

Individuals within MTD for Income tax will be required to use software to keep their records and submit returns to HMRC via their Application Programming Interface (API). 

There are essentially three different types of MTD compliant software:

  • Software packages that can be used to keep digital records and file returns via HMRC’s API.
  • API enabled spreadsheets – spreadsheets with an inbuilt function allowing them to file returns via HMRC’s API.
  • Bridging software which can take return information from an existing spreadsheet and submit this to HMRC via their API.

Where a spreadsheet is used, the relevant data must be digitally transmitted from the spreadsheet or other source where the digital records are kept, directly to HMRC. The summary information for completion of the quarterly and final returns must not be physically re-typed into another software package.

The current list of MTD compatible software for income tax is here.

Other information and guidance 

HMRC's guidance on MTD for ITSA can be accessed from its collection page.  

HMRC have also produced a Making Tax Digital for Business – stakeholder communications pack which contains a variety of information for both Income tax and VAT, including some frequently asked questions.  

Tolley's Tax Technology Horizon report provides a deep dive into the key issues that digitalisation presents to businesses and tax advisors, including:

  • What tax technology tools are available, and how are they being employed?
  • What opportunities and challenges does tax technology present for the future?
  • How is technology changing the skill sets required within tax practices?

<back to top>