Business owners will spend more than a third of their time taking on Making Tax Digital, survey finds

Thousands of small business owners say they will be forced to spend over a third of their time on filing returns through Making Tax Digital (MTD), a survey has revealed.

The study found that the Government’s digital tax overhaul will be a major concern for many small businesses, with 37 per cent admitting that the new and potentially complex digital processes could consume their time even further.

Announced in 2015, MTD will push all paper filing online, which can only be accessed via HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) digital tax dashboard. Most businesses will be expected to file quarterly returns, as well as an annual return, the Revenue has suggested.

However, while more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of business owners say they will be attempting to tackle digital tax filing without professional help, nearly three quarters (73 per cent) believe that their business would grow more quickly if less of their time was taken up by company admin.

Of those who will be going it alone, a third (35 per cent) said they will be taking on the burden of digital tax filing because they don’t have staff members with the relevant skills.

Meanwhile, 32 per cent of business owners aiming to save costs by taking a “DIY” approach to accounting said they have ended up paying an external expert to fix an error they’ve made when taking on tasks they aren’t qualified to do.

MTD is scheduled for full release in 2020, while small businesses, landlords, and self-employed individuals will be forced to use the new system much earlier.