Designed to reduce the tax gap and simplify tax management for individuals and businesses, the Government’s Tax Administration Strategy is set to introduce Making Tax Digital (MTD) for Income Tax Self-Assessment (ITSA) by 6 April 2026.
It will allow those who are self-employed, are landlords or are otherwise responsible for their own tax returns to keep digital records through the MTD system.
With a view to reducing tax lost to avoidable errors, MTD requires taxpayers to send digital records directly to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
MTD taxpayers will be required to use compatible accounting software which, the Government hopes, will encourage wider efficiency and digitisation.
However, certain elements of the proposal have met with resistance due to confusion over new requirements.
As the scheme comes into force, the Government has now made a number of practical tweaks to the policy – seizing the opportunity presented by the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement
Tax and self-employment
MTD seeks to reduce the amount of tax lost by the Government due to errors made on an individual level.
A key element of the scheme is Income Tax Self-Assessment (ITSA), requiring self-employed individuals and landlords to use the MTD software to record their earnings and calculate tax liabilities.
Starting in April 2026, self-employed persons and landlords earning over £50,000 will need to maintain digital records and submit quarterly updates on their earnings and expenses to HMRC using software compatible with Making Tax Digital (MTD). For those earning between £30,000 and £50,000, this requirement will come into effect from April 2027.
Each quarter, these taxpayers will be required to submit financial records including earnings, profit and loss.
Under existing proposals for MTD ITSA, taxpayers would have been required to submit an End of Period Statement (EOPS) in two parts:
- EOPS reporting taxable profit/loss
- A Final Declaration containing EOPS data, other income, allowances and reliefs
However, the EOPS caused a stir among taxpayers as it would have separated the current year-end process into two steps, resulting in confusion and uncertainty for traders.
It may have also actively harmed the overall aim of the scheme by introducing a new potential source of error.
What has changed?
The Government has now announced that the EOPS will not be a separate requirement to the Final Declaration, instead being built into a single process.
The change should simplify the ITSA process and reduce the possibility of mistakes and inaccurate reporting.
Supporting the Final Declaration is another change to the proposed policy, making the required quarterly updates cumulative.
What will this mean for taxpayers?
Taxpayers will now face a more straightforward process for submitting year-end reports under MTD.
Taxpayers can easily access their financial reports throughout the year with quarterly updates, making end-of-year submissions easier.
You’ll also be able to correct past errors in the next quarter, rather than needing to resubmit in the same quarter.
Overall, these new measures will go a long way to achieving the scheme’s goal of streamlining finances for self-employed individuals and sole traders, encouraging operators to embrace digital solutions for efficiency more widely.
How can we help?
If you are self-employed or a landlord, you may benefit from seeking professional financial advice before MTD comes into law.
Making a mistake and paying less tax than you owe could result in a large bill later on, or even legal difficulties.
We can advise you on using the MTD system, integrating it with your current accounting software and complying with all the accompanying regulations.