As part of the Government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) plans to simplify the tax system and to speed up the time it takes for self-employed professionals and small business owners to complete their tax returns, the Government are proposing changes to the existing tax reporting rules.
The changes, planned by 2023, would mean that any business not incorporated would be taxed on profits arising in the tax year as opposed to profits on accounts ending in the tax year.
In short, the changes will see all businesses having to align their basis period with the 5/6th April tax year. Whilst the majority of businesses already do this, there are about 7% of sole traders who choose not to as it fits better with their business model.
For example, a business who runs their accounts to the 30th of June each year, their income tax for 2023/24 would currently be based on profits for the year ending 30th June 2023. Under the new rules the income tax for 2023/24 would be based on 3/12 of the income for the year ending 30th June 2023 in addition to 9/12 of the income for the year ending 30th June 2024.
The Government estimates that around 3% of sole traders and 15% of partners will face an increase in costs as a result of these proposed changes but believes that they will reduce errors and overpayments and bring tax returns in line with other assessments such as property income.
Whilst the changes are broadly welcomed and the consensus is that it will simplify life for business owners, the consultation period is due to conclude on 31st August. Some claim that this is too quick and businesses need more time to prepare and propose a delay of 12 months in order for business to provide proper feedback and ensure that the scheme works for everyone.
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