Lancashire and Cumbrian firms urged to prepare for digital tax age

Lancashire and Cumbrian businesses are being urged to prepare for changes coming in next year that will make it compulsory to file tax statements digitally.

Starting in April 2018 many businesses will be required to file quarterly tax statements online with HMRC with the rules applying to most businesses, self-employed people and landlords by 2020.

While millions of businesses in the UK already manage their tax digitally, the changes make it a legal requirement and businesses will need to ensure they have suitable digital tools, such as software or apps, to keep records of their income and expenditure.

Judith Dugdale, corporate services director at Preston-based accountancy firm Moore and Smalley, said: “The government’s Making Tax Digital initiative is designed to make the process of tax filing less cumbersome so businesses of all sizes should embrace it fully.

“Essentially, the changes mean that the tax system will operate more closely to real time, rather than the current situation in which tax returns are filled out and the business is still paying liabilities long after the tax year.”

To help its clients manage the changes, Moore and Smalley has partnered with QuickBooks Online, a leading cloud accounting software provider, to ease the process for its clients.

Under the partnership, Moore and Smalley’s staff and clients will be able to manage accounts in the cloud via any device with internet access.

Judith added: “The ability to file quarterly tax statements is just one of many benefits of adopting cloud accounting software. Others include automated invoice production and live management accounts.

“Clients will naturally continue to have the choice of principally managing their own record keeping and filings. However, if clients prefer, they can elect Moore and Smalley to act as their proxy, setting up their accounts in the cloud on their behalf.”