The National Farmers Union (NFU) is calling on HM Revenue & Customs to reconsider its plans for introducing Making Tax Digital, which will require some farmers to keep digital records and submit their VAT returns directly from their financial software by 2019.
HMRC is currently preparing for the first phase of the new regime, which has come to be known as Making VAT Digital (MVD), which will see changes to the VAT regime from 1 April 2019 for any business operating above the VAT threshold of £85,000.
However, Michael Parker, head of tax for the NFU, said that the implementation of the new regime should be delayed as it was more onerous than the current online VAT reporting requirement and unfair to rural businesses who suffer from a poor digital infrastructure.
“It is suggested by the government that Making Tax Digital proposals will bring business tax into the digital age,” he said.
“However, for many of our members, the digital age has yet to be delivered to them by the Government.”
He is worried that given the complex nature of farm accounting and taxation it might not be possible to find suitably tailored software in time for the start of the new regime.
“The NFU believes that a delay in implementation, combined with substantive pilot tests across a wide range of businesses, is required before MTD for VAT becomes mandatory,” added Mr Parker.