The partners and tax support staff at most accountancy practices will draw a collective sigh of relief next week as the frenetic activity to file clients’ SA returns before the end of the January deadline passes.
Interestingly, the first of February this year is a Friday and we wonder how many practices will be short-staffed this day? No doubt that many will be heading for the hills, bleary eyed and desperate to escape the office for a well-earned rest.
Clients who continue, year after year, to bring in their records in the last week of January, should be invoiced accordingly for the extra effort demanded to meet the deadline. Many, no doubt aggrieved, will be surprised when they receive a penalty notice next month – after all, they did get their books in before the 31 January.
If, as is mooted, MTD rolls out for Income Tax and Corporation Tax purposes at some future date, 6 April 2020 is the earliest this may happen, then self-assessment will become a thing of the past replaced by quarterly uploads to tax accounts that will drive a continuous loop of re-calculation in real time.
Will practitioners look back on the “good old days” of self-assessment with a sense of nostalgia? Hours spent tapping in data, driving towards the impending January end date as if the finishing line of a marathon.
Of course, the MTD change will be a revolution in tax compliance, bringing with it the possibility of pay-as you-go for the self-employed and company owners. But will HMRC’s systems pass muster, will MTD actually happen? The impending roll-out of MTD for most VAT traders will be instructive.
And in the meantime, SA will still apply for 2018-19 and 2019-20.