The government have now confirmed this will go ahead from 6th April 2018 for landlords and sole traders whose gross rents/turnover is £85000 pa or more ie the equivalent to the VAT threshold.
For those whose gross rents are between the now confirmed £10000 Making Tax Digital starting threshold but below £85000, quarterly reporting will now be delayed until 6th April 2019. For jointly owned rental property the £10000 threshold relates the "letting business" not each individual landlord.
Landlords will be required to submit rental income and expenditure figures to HMRC digitally using approved software at least every 3 months. Where filed quarterly, this is to be made within 30 days of the end of each quarter i.e. 5th July, 5th October, 5th January and 5th April.
A final tax reconciliation submission will still be required at the end of the tax year, to be filed by 31st January, which will replace the annual self-assessment tax return. Failure to do so could result in penalties being charged once this new system has "bedded in" after the first year.
Although the linking of spreadsheets to digital records has now been confirmed as acceptable, paper filing will no longer be possible. Rental income and expenditure details will need to be kept digitally, with HMRC using the cash basis (income received and expenditure paid in the tax year) rather than the accruals basis (income and expenditure relating to the tax year) which becomes the default position to calculate the profit/loss from 6th April 2017, provided the gross rents are below £150000 pa.
Although free software may be provided for those with straightforward situations, commercial software might be more appropriate, particularly if it needs to be linked with the software of the landlord's tax adviser.
Following the dropping of MTD from the Finance Bill because of the General Election, the Treasury have announced the replacement for self assessment tax return filing has now been delayed further ! The self employed who are registered for VAT (currently gross turnover above £85000) will be required to keep digital records and file quarterly VAT returns only using MTD compatible software from 1st April 2019 .For all other businesses and landlords, digital record keeping and quarterly reporting will not now start for income tax and national insurance contributions until at least 6th April 2020.A welcome breathing space for HMRC and software developers to get their act together to produce adequate and cost effective software that is user friendly and works !Baktax 13/07/17
With the closure of HMRC's offshore disclosure facilities on 31st December 2015, the incentives of a reduced penalty for the declaration of previously undisclosed income and gains to bring one's tax affairs up to date are no longer available. (That is with the exception of the Let Property Campaign which is still available to declare income from rental property).
However, a Worldwide Disclosure Facility was opened in 5th September 2016 to give a last opportunity for declarations to be made, before HMRC introduce new tougher sanctions from 1st October 2018.
100 countries have signed up to exchange information on a multilateral basis which will dramatically increase transparency for international tax purposes.