Taxpayers can already use their online Business Tax Account for their dealings with HMRC but it is not currently essential. This is set to change with Making Tax Digital.
Business Tax Account
Among the many changes that are coming with the roll out of Making Tax Digital (MTD) is a shift in the way taxpayers must communicate with HMRC.
With MTD, there will be certain tasks that taxpayers will only be able to do through their Business Tax Account (BTA). In effect, the BTA will become integral to any communications with HMRC. For example, there will be some notifications or confirmations which HMRC will only accept through the account. This will be the case regardless of the fact that we act for you as agents and advisors. Businesses will also need to provide HMRC with an email address.
There are exceptions for those businesses who fall within the definition of ‘digitally excluded’ taxpayers. However, it should be noted that HMRC’s definition of digital exclusion is narrow and may prove difficult to access.
HMRC says that it will keep contact via the Business Tax Account to a minimum but businesses that do not currently have a BTA should set one up as soon as possible.
MTD for VAT-registered businesses coming soon
MTD for VAT is set to begin for VAT return periods starting on or after 1 April 2019. As such, any business which operates above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000 turnover) will need to have a BTA set up and running before this date.
If you currently use any HMRC online services, you may have a BTA without realising. To confirm, note the heading of the web page that appears when you next log in.
If you do not currently use any HMRC online services, and do not already have a BTA, the first step is to create a Government Gateway ID. You can do this here. Businesses should choose the option to register as an ‘organisation’.
For information of users: This material is published for the information of clients. It provides only an overview of the regulations in force at the date of publication, and no action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.