With only ten months to go before VAT registered entities have to keep digital records and use computer software to file their VAT returns online, a leading adviser is warning business owners to not bury their heads in the sand, but to prepare now for the government’s digital changeover.

From 1 April 2019, VAT registered businesses with sales above £85,000 will by law have to keep electronic accounting records and submit their VAT returns using approved software, advises Top 30 advisory firm, Bishop Fleming, which is warning that many software packages will fail the task without major upgrades.

The firm, which delivers accounting, tax, corporate restructuring and advisory services to businesses and private wealth advice to individuals, is currently helping businesses prepare for the digital reforms. The firm has developed solutions to get traders on board with the new regime.

Bishop Fleming Partner, Hazel Tucker, warns of the need for VAT-registered entities to start getting their accounting records in a digital form to avoid panic later on as the deadline approaches.

Hazel commented: “The digital deadline is just months away. It can take time to upgrade to the right software, and that time is rapidly running out. VAT-registered traders who do not currently use any software, will be forced to, or face severe penalties.”

She added: “It is vital that businesses urgently contact their software suppliers to find out when they will receive an upgrade to deal with the changes. If they cannot get this information, or they discover that there are no planned upgrades, they will need to change their software.”

The Bishop Fleming Partner said there were possible ‘get out of jail’ cards where a business owner falls within one of the digital exclusions, but these are limited and rely on the discretion of the tax office.

Hazel added: “If you haven’t yet thought about how you are going to deal with next April’s changes, we have created a number of solutions, and can help select the right one for you.”

Contact us for advice

If you would like to discuss how you can prepare for the VAT accounting change, please contact your usual Bishop Fleming adviser, or a member of our Making Tax Digital team.


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