Let’s get digital: Using technology to make tax easier

Let’s get digital: Using technology to make tax easier

Call me John ‘geek’ Robins, but I adore undertaking my tax return.

Stand-up comedy’s tiny obtain may perfectly have been accountancy’s great decline. It appeals to the part of my mind that likes neatness and get.

I really like making every little thing add up, I love its regulations and quirks.

In a occupation wherever achievement or failure hangs in the stability, I’m risk-free in the expertise that I can assert 45p for each mile for petrol regardless of whether the viewers chortle or not.

But I also realize that a lot of folks discover tax perplexing. 

The good news is there’s plenty of help readily available. All you will need are the suitable resources for the job, and your neighbourhood tax enthusiast John Robins to translate troublesome tax terms into basic English.

Here’s what I include in this report:

Generating Tax Digital (MTD)

My VAT return made use of to choose me months to sort. I had spreadsheets and notebooks all above the area.

Tracing ways back again to a miscalculation, or getting out why two figures did not insert up was a nightmare. If I lost a receipt, perfectly, I could kiss that night’s rest goodbye.

Generating Tax Electronic is a governing administration initiative to make the system of protecting and distributing your tax info simpler, and crucially, a lot quicker.

Since 1 April 2022, all VAT registered firms are needed to keep a digital file that updates and merchants all your economic info in a single spot.

And if the concept of a ‘digital record’ appears obscure and intricate, that is what accounting program is there for: just enter your transactions and allow the tech do the rest for you.

Earning Tax Electronic for Cash flow Tax Self Assessment (MTD for ITSA)

What on earth is ITSA?

Very well, ITS-A not as bewildering as it may well sound (superb humour there).

The very best way to alleviate that tax worry is to retain up to date with your records and be plugged in to how your business is performing in real time.

If you are a self-employed small business proprietor or landlord with a complete profits of more than £10,000 a year, from April 2024, you will have to have to submit quarterly updates about your organization money and expenses as portion of MTD for ITSA.

“What?” I hear you cry, “Four returns a yr?”

Panic not.

When you are set up with the suitable accounting computer software, that total process boils down to just a few clicks of a button each quarter, instead than just one significant, nerve-racking lift at the conclusion of the year.


It may possibly also signify just one fast electronic mail to your accountant each quarter, as opposed to one massive email and baggage comprehensive of receipts at the stop of the 12 months.

My accountant is perfectly employed to receiving every day e-mail from me about the most current traits in taxation—it’s his cross, and he bares it with peaceful dignity.

Agent authorisation

Aspect of MTD for ITSA, you can authorise someone else to offer with HMRC for you, this sort of as an accountant, buddy or relative.

It’s rapid and straightforward to do—just ship them a connection through the HMRC website and once they’ve accomplished the authorisation methods, they can act on your behalf.

Imagine of it as an on the net handshake, a bit of digital delegation.


Could this be a Yorkshireman greeting you in the early morning? Potentially, but not on this occasion.

EOPS stands for Conclusion of Time period Statement, and this is the doc that finalises the profit and loss of your organization, or corporations, around your accounting time period. If you’re a landlord, you also need to make a statement for any residence rental profits.

And, you guessed it, the EOPS is an additional MTD for ITSA system.

Inside of the EOPS, you or your accountant can make changes to allowances or expense claims in advance of placing the ultimate cherry on leading of the cake.

And that cherry is a Ultimate Declaration.

Final Declaration 

What is a present without having a fancy bow? Perfectly, it would not be a enjoyable yr of on the net accounting without remaining able to sign off the entire issue, punching the air.

And that’s what you can do when you submit your Ultimate Declaration, which is also element of MTD for ITSA.

It provides collectively all the information and facts about your profits, charges, and reliefs into one particular last hurrah. If that seems a tiny overwhelming, don’t be concerned.

That accounting software package we talked about previously does all that.

So if you’re by now established up, it’s just a different simply click of a button and a job perfectly completed. All you have left to do is celebration like it is 6th April.

Some tax conditions and what they suggest (in simple English)

Value Included Tax (VAT)

VAT is a tax included to most products and solutions and expert services marketed by VAT registered enterprises.

It is pretty much a tax on benefit. But the prices and things it applies to change, so your lunchtime meal offer has no VAT, but your tank of petrol does (20%).

Your train ticket has no VAT, but the fuel you use to warmth your property does (5%). Feel it or not, the pasty you acquire from your neighborhood deli has been by means of five tests to see if it satisfies the conditions for VAT, so that’ll fluctuate based on how it is cooked, saved, marketed and served.

You really do not have to have to know the personal record of each individual pasty you invest in, but the receipt have to convey to you how a great deal VAT has been billed.

When that data is in your accounting program, it’ll assist you do the relaxation. 

Pay back As You Receive (PAYE)

This is the bit of your month-to-month payslip that places a grimace on your face.

Six months into staying self-utilized, I would yearn for people calculations to be made by some accounting whizz.

PAYE is mainly an automatic deduction manufactured from your wages in advance of they get to you. It stands for Pay out As You Earn, and means the dollars you make that is owed for earnings tax, Countrywide Insurance coverage, and college student personal loan repayments.

In other terms, the revenue that does not make it into your pocket just before it’s handed on.

And while this may well look aggravating, it will save you carrying out a tax return each and every yr and, crucially, safeguards you from the terrible realisation you’ve spent all that dollars when the monthly bill comes—a lesson tough learned in my situation.

Individuals who do not have tax deducted as a result of PAYE are inclined to be self-used and are dependable for calculating what they owe by themselves.

But this does not have to be demanding with the assistance of fantastic program and a trusted accountant by your side.

Tax calendar year

Why does the British isles tax yr run from 6 April?

It is really rather interesting—if you uncover tax a long time exciting. For that, I’m responsible as charged.

In the Middle Ages, our tax yr employed to run from Woman Day, a religious pageant that normally takes put on 25 March. In 1752, it moved to 5 April when we transformed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. But it had to be moved to the 6th in 1800 due to the fact the leap years did not very increase up.

That reported, the United kingdom is a little bit of an exception possessing the tax year start off on 6 April. In fact, we’re the only nation in the globe that uses these dates.

So, if you uncover it aggravating or uncommon, you are not alone.

Most countries’ tax years comply with the calendar 12 months, which would seem easier. But I’m not confident the ‘New Year’s Eve Tax Return Party’ would truly catch on here. 

Gross and internet cash flow

Let us say you’re building some mouth watering jam tarts for your spouse and children for the reason that if you’re currently being straightforward, they’re quick and you’ve operate out of thoughts. But not just about every grain of flour and little bit of raspberry will end up on their dessert plates.

When you arrived back again from the grocery store with all the browsing, you experienced the gross substances. But when you created the jam tarts, some flour might have spilled out of the bowl.

You did not use all the jam. And there was some leftover dough. What comes out of the oven is the internet earnings of those people gross ingredients. 

It’s the similar with your earnings and income.

Your business may well have lots of cash flow streams, invoices paid, goods marketed, interest, cash gains, even recommendations. These are the elements. When you include all these up, it’s your gross profits, or turnover.

But if you have been taxed just on that, it wouldn’t be reasonable, for the reason that providing these merchandise and expert services prices you money. Issues like petrol, packaging, utilities, and the membership to your accounting program.

Operating out what costs can and can’t be claimed back is some thing an accountant can help you with. The figure left about when you have taken off all the charges from your gross cash flow is your web profits, and that’s the determine you pay out tax on.

Final thoughts

Your taxes really don’t have to be taxing. Applying a few professional tips and some slick accounting application, you can preserve time and far more importantly, minimize some stress out of your existence.

And that’s my kind of punchline.