Bad news, the “end of the tax return” as HMRC once put it, is no longer coming to an end, at least not yet. Well, it never really was anyway so don’t get your hopes up too much. It was just being renamed as an “end of period statement” which always felt a bit of a con to me.
But there is good news here. In January, HMRC announced that Making Tax Digital for Income Tax (originally planned to come in during 2018, delayed to 2020, then delayed again until 2024) has been delayed yet again until April 2026 with some smaller unincorporated businesses given a further year until April 2027 to comply.
Under the proposed rules, all self-employed business owners, landlords and companies will be required to send quarterly updates to HMRC followed by an end of year statement. Record keeping would need to move to the digital world also, with software responsible for submitting the information to HMRC directly rather than via any kind of manual form filling. This is particularly problematic for small business and landlords with very simple recordkeeping requirements.
It seems likely however, that the previously announced basis period reform, which was seen as a fundamental step in preparation for MTD quarterly reporting, will go ahead as planned in April 2024. This reform moves all traders onto a simplified “current year basis” form of allocating profits to tax years.
Of course, we have a general election between now and 2026 and I think most would agree to that UK politics is a little turbulent at present. Perhaps with a new government, the proposals might get kicked into the long grass. I guess only time will tell…