Making Tax Digital – Full steam ahead 6th March 2019 Despite calls from some to put a further delay to Making Tax Digital, on 19th February 2019 with less than 40 days to go Mel Stride MP Financial Secretary to the Treasury updated the House of Commons on HMRC’s progress on delivering MTD for VAT. The government are pressing ahead with the April 2019 start date and there’s no turning back. He said: ‘It has never been more important for businesses to be able to seize the opportunities that digital technology offers. Making Tax Digital helps them to do just that.’ It was made clear that the purpose of MTD was not to change what businesses are doing, by altering tax rules or frequency of reporting, but to make it easier for businesses to report what they were already doing. More than 16,500 businesses have signed up to the HMRC’s pilot and he hoped that more would do so in advance of the April deadline. Mr Stride reiterated that HMRC would not be producing free software to help businesses make their reports but said many products at a range of prices and functionality available from commercial developers including ‘free bridging software’ for businesses that wished to maintain spreadsheets for record-keeping. He referred to new HMRC research, saying it showed that 81% of the mandated population were aware of MTD and 83% were preparing for it and added that, by the end of February, HMRC will have written to every mandated business to tell them the ‘help and support they need to prepare’. Penalties will ‘not be issued for late filing only for late payment’. He confirmed that a few businesses would be exempt from MTD for VAT because of digital exclusion. There will be a process to claim exemption based on disability, access to broadband or religious grounds; and any business already exempt from filing will be exempt from MTD for VAT.