Budget 2018 provides clarity for Making Tax Digital VAT threshold

5th November 2018

Chancellor Philip Hammond used his Budget 2018 speech to offer clarity to the UK’s army of small businesses regarding the upcoming implementation of Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT returns.

From 1st April 2019, small businesses with a taxable turnover exceeding the VAT registration threshold will be required to file digital VAT records via MTD-compatible software.

Prior to Budget 2018, there were fears that the Chancellor could slash the VAT registration threshold by 50% - down from £85,000 per annum to just £43,000 per annum.

This move would have brought hundreds of thousands more small firms into the MTD for VAT programme. However, Mr Hammond moved to allay those fears in last week’s Budget 2018 speech, confirming that the existing £85,000 VAT threshold will remain until at least April 2022.

The move, which will cost the Exchequer £60 million in 2020/21 and a further £130 million in 2021/22, gives certainty to small businesses below the VAT registration threshold and allows them to continue with their existing VAT reporting regime.

Nevertheless, the Government announced last summer that the pace of MTD implementation would only be slowed for taxes other than VAT until April 2020.

This means that small businesses across the country must still be prepared to keep their taxes in order digitally in less than two years.

To ensure small firms in rural areas can partake in the MTD programme – and meet the Government’s strategy of having a nationwide full fibre network by 2033 – the Government allocated £200 million in Budget 2018 to pilot “innovative approaches to deploying full fibre internet in rural locations”.

The deployment will begin in the Borderlands, Cornwall and the Welsh Valleys; starting with primary schools, followed by a new voucher scheme for nearby residential and commercial properties.

The Government also confirmed that Suffolk would be the first local region to be handed £5.9 million of funding from the Local Full Fibre Networks challenge fund, ensuring next-generation full fibre connectivity for the county’s key public buildings.

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