Making Tax Digital (MTD) – April 2019

The Making Tax Digital (MTD) reforms represent a fundamental and unprecedented change to the UK tax system, which will ultimately impact all of us who are UK taxpayers.

We must be aware however that VAT is now at the forefront of their plans and If you are a VAT registered business then please note the way in which VAT accounting data will be required to be recorded and submitted to HMRC will change significantly.

So please, be aware, it is a requirement for all VAT-registered businesses with a turnover above £85,000 per annum to submit their VAT returns digitally, using MTD-compatible software, from April 2019.  (This requirement applies to charities, schools, public bodies, sole traders and partnerships, and not just corporate bodies.)

MTD also means businesses will need to keep their records in a digital format which enables information to be provided to HMRC directly from their accounting system or via bridging software, through application programme interfaces (APIs) which can also receive information from HMRC.

If you, like many small businesses, keep your records on a spreadsheet you will need to have digital links, through MTD-compatible software, from the spreadsheet to HMRC.

If you use an accounting package but prepare your VAT return using a spreadsheet, from April 2019 the accounting package and the spreadsheet will need to be linked digitally.

With all these changes and the pressure on owner managers to get it right it is good to know that HMRC has confirmed that there will be a ‘soft landing’ period between April 2019 and March 2020, in which there will be no financial penalties for record-keeping failures.  That’s a relief!  There must, however, be a digital link between your accounting records and HMRC from the outset at 1 April 2019.

If you wish to get ready and would like advice, please get in touch with Charles Lucas or Kendal Blackburn.  They would be delighted to chat through what is necessary for you and your business.  Drop us an email via the contact page or phone the office direct – the number is at the top of the webpage.

Tom Bathgate MBA.

Press pause at the start of 2019 in order to press go

We are all aware as owner managers that we should stop, take a breath, review where the business has come from in the last 12 months and look at where it is going in the 12 ahead. The start of a new year can be one of the best moments during the 52 weeks, 365 days and 8,760 hours that 2019 have to offer us.

It is so easy to get caught in a cycle of working harder, sleeping less, doing more, all the while blind to the burnout appearance we convey as managers.  With everyday busyness comes stress and the inevitable drain on our inner resources and zest for life.  We become so used to thinking that the low mood, the loss of get up and go, the sense of heaviness is normal and accept it as our companion.  Running our batteries on low shows up eventually and impacts relationships inside and outside the business.  We lose our sparkle, show a short fuse, eat unhealthily, cut out exercise, have irrational behaviour, be unkind to those who matter most and the inspiration which kept us going, gets punctured.  And caught in all this we forget (or neglect) to pause, take stock, and face head on that much of what we do has stopped making sense and joy has evaporated.

We often know it is time to take stock, be still, take a moment, and to imagine our way into a better place but we just cannot seem to find a way to carve out the time to re-balance.  There is no obvious place or time to stop and reflect as there is a never ending ‘to do’ list and only we can do it.  We even argue with ourselves that it will not make much difference anyway if we take stock because this is just the way it is, was and ever shall be.

Priorities are about ‘first things first’ and rather than a big long break or a yoga weekend retreat to re-balance and re-charge perhaps there might just be another way of taking a breath that doesn’t have to be about retreats, going to the sun, or a weekend away.  I’m certain these things would help make a difference and re-charge our batteries but maybe we can begin to take a breath in the thick of our business day to have a moment, a pause, and attempt stop the constant chatter and distractions in our heads and put aside that next thing we believe just has to be done by us.

Have you ever read a page in a book that didn’t have a comma or a new paragraph or a fresh chapter?  Why should the daily story of our life not have a comma at some point on the daily page?

Health and wellbeing appears to be taking a new priority in our society and we are certainly hearing about it more and more in the media.  In particular mental health awareness is certainly on the increase and we can easily think this is for someone else rather than us. In 2018 witnessed government select committees discuss and debate it in public, the BBC website carried powerful articles about what it is and how widespread, and in November Prince William spoke of the moment he was “tipped over the edge” following “traumatic” callouts as an air ambulance pilot.  The Duke of Cambridge talked at a conference in London that aimed to address mental health issues in the workplace.  He said he worked on several jobs in the east of England involving hurt children, including one that left him feeling “very sad and very down”.  He added that speaking to people helped him cope with the “enormous sadness” that he had witnessed. (click on the link below for the short BBC interview with Prince William on 20 November 2018)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-cambridgeshire-46281604/prince-william-tipped-over-the-edge-while-air-ambulance-pilot

So ……

This blog is simply attempting to signpost owner managers to look after themselves as a primary means of looking after their business. Neglect our own well being and soon the well being of our business will feel it by our presence or appearance.

So I dare you to take 5 minutes a couple of times per day to pause, to breathe, to be aware that all work and no play does make Jack a dull manager!  How can you do it? Oh I’m sure you will find a way – an inner smoking break without the cigs!  Here is one idea – have a look for an App which might help guide you in how to be Calm in the daily hustle and bustle or running your business.  Here is a link to one App which illustrates what I’m talking about. It has a free trial – which is always a help!

https://www.calm.com/

And if it is further information on mental health why not have a look at these links:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-mental-health

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mindfulness/

5 steps to mental wellbeing:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/improve-mental-wellbeing/

By Tom Bathgate MBA
tom.bathgate@broadthunder.co.uk