HMRC will ask thousands of sole traders to ‘trial’ Making Tax Digital this year

Approximately 400,000 landlords and sole traders will be asked to ‘trial’ Making Tax Digital (MTD) before October 2017, according to reports.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has said that it will begin to ‘soft launch beta testing’ for MTD from April this year, targeting around 100 testers to begin with, before expanding the pilot to around 400,000 taxpayers by the autumn.

Commentators have criticised the idea, suggesting that sole traders, landlords and self-employed individuals will have very little time to adapt to the beta before MTD is rolled out indefinitely.

By April 2018, mandatory quarterly digital reporting will be phased in for landlords and sole-traders earning £10,000 a year or more.

Reports suggest that the £10,000 exemption threshold is currently under review, following widespread objection from business, tax and accountancy bodies – many of whom suggest that the threshold should be amended in order to match the £83,000 VAT threshold.

Meanwhile, HMRC officials are also currently in discussion with software developers in a bid to map out the future of MTD.

It is thought that the Revenue anticipates that ‘at least three’ commercial software providers will agree to provide free ‘entry-level’ software to assist taxpayers with quarterly digital reporting ahead of MTD’s official roll-out.