Making Tax Digital “completely inaccessible” to rural businesses

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has been urged to consider concerns from rural businesses with limited internet access.

A recent HMRC U-turn on digital tax returns will mean that all UK businesses with a turnover of more than £10,000 a year will have to file quarterly tax updates online.

And with Making Tax Digital ready to roll out by 2020, rural businesses with little to no access to online services will struggle to comply with digital tax.

Experts have warned HMRC, that for some businesses, Making Tax Digital will be “completely inaccessible”.

CLA senior rural business adviser, Charles Trotman, said that the rollout of superfast rural broadband has been slow but even those who do manage to access it could still struggle.

“They may not be able to get the speed they need. A lot will depend on the technological requirements, particularly if it has a lot of graphic content”, he said.

“If it will work as HMRC want it to, we have got to have the infrastructure in place and I am not convinced the infrastructure will be there.

“My concern is it might cost them money rather than save it. If they do not get it right, it will cost more, not less.”

Encouragingly, HMRC have discussed rural exception, saying that those “who struggle to engage digitally” will be helped and businesses that “cannot use digital tools will be entirely exempted from these new processes”.