Making Tax Digital – soft landing extension
One-year extension for MTDfV soft landing
In a welcome response to COVID-19, HMRC has extended its digital links ‘soft landing period’ by twelve months to April 2021.
In a widely distributed email issued on 30 March 2020, HMRC stated:
“We understand that the impact of COVID-19 is creating extremely difficult times for all, and we are committed to helping in every way possible all those businesses facing unprecedented challenges.
Therefore, we are providing all MTD businesses with more time to put in place digital links between all parts of their functional compatible software. This means that all businesses now have until their first VAT return period starting on or after 1 April 2021 to put digital links in place.”
From April 2019, once those mandated to comply with VAT MTD have entered accounting data into their business’s accounting software, they have been required to transfer, recapture or modify that data using digital links. Effectively, once VAT data has been digitally captured the rest of its journey until the submission of a VAT return must be a digital journey, without manual intervention.
HMRC recognised that not all businesses would have digital links in place from day one and allowed a period of grace, the ‘soft landing period’. HMRC promised that, where businesses were trying to meet the statutory digital end to end journey during the ‘soft landing period’, the department would not impose penalties for non-compliance.
The effect of the ‘soft landing’ announcement meant that for the first year of mandation, businesses are not required to have digital links between software programs.
For most, MTD for VAT rules have applied from VAT period starting on or after 1 April 2019. Although there was a smaller group where mandation was deferred until the start of the first VAT return period on or after 1 October 2020.
What it means
All businesses mandated to comply with MTD for VAT now have until their first VAT return period, starting on or after 1 April 2021, to put digital links in place.
Given the coronavirus related troubles affecting practically all businesses in the UK, this extension to the ‘soft-landing period’ is another sensible easement that is to be much welcomed.