back to article HMRC delays digi tax plans amid Brexit customs woes

HMRC appears to be putting its flagship "making tax digital" (MTD) project on hold. Instead, it's all hands on deck at the Brit tax authority to handle its customs IT replacement system post-Brexit. In an update on the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) IT programme, Jon Thompson, chief exec of HMRC, said the department has " …

The whole MTD VAT thing is a bit bonkers. They could easily just put a web page to submit your returns and it's done.

But no, they have decided you need to buy some expensive (probably Windows-only) nonsense that costs a small fortune (and will get rapidly more costly when they realise the government just handed them a near monopoly).

So having kept my accounts in Gnucash for years, I now have to buy a Windows PC just to submit a VAT return? Sounds a bit daft to me...

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Online Returns

@Zippy

Not quite sure where you're coming from on this.

I have been submitting my VAT returns on-line via the web portal since July 2012.

The form is very similar to the paper one I filled in previously.

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Re: On a slightly related tangent...

In other words, can we not effectively ban LHD lorries and EU-licensed HGV drivers from our roads to improve road safety?

Yeah sure. Cos we'll never again want to export anything to the EU or have our true-Brit drivers and their RHD lorries travel abroad. Not to mention your next little hop across to pick up cheap booze and fags, play golf, go camping in the Dordogne....

Your scheme also depends on fairly precisely equal numbers of trailers going in each direction, will add immense costs, and still has those dastardly un-maintained death-trap Continental trailers all over the Queen's (Gawd bless 'er) highways.

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Re: On a slightly related tangent...

More likely foreign trucks will not be allowed to pick up return loads (like Mexican trucks bringing imports to the USA under NAFTA) - so costs will increase, more trucks on the road, more GHG emissions

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I hope that HMRC...

have a 'Plan B' and are talking to Kent Police and the DFT.

I think that it will be highly likely that Operation Stack will be in operation all the time after BREXIT.

It is odds on that any IT system implimented will fail miserably for the first 6 months and the suppliers (no doubt working on a T&M basis) struggle to get it working even half decently.

IMHO, Dover will be a port to avoid.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

IMHO, Dover will be a port to avoid.

As will import and export of perishable goods.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

"have a 'Plan B'"

Plan B? A plan A would be a good start.

That's a plan A for the whole sorry mess.

Plan A should involve a feasibility study, a list of requirements and a project plan to have the whole thing in place with "Trigger Article 50" set well down the list so that everything else would be sufficiently advanced to be ready for the go-live date.

Did they do that? Of course not. The Leavers were handed the job and as they were convinced it would be no problem at all they charged straight ahead.

Fail to plan means plan to fail.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

@ Doctor Syntax

"Did they do that? Of course not. The Leavers were handed the job and as they were convinced it would be no problem at all they charged straight ahead."

Cameron refused to do any preparation nor negotiation over any possibility of a leave result as part of the rigged vote that returned the 'wrong' result. The only party who had all this organised and ready to go was UKIP. But Tories are what people are used to and were the only ones offering the referendum people had been wanting for so long.

The leavers are right that leave isnt a problem at all. Unfortunately they are stuck with remainers clogging up the works.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

We'll at least you have the benefit that you can visually inspect your own prostate.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

Plan A should involve a feasibility study, a list of requirements and a project plan to have the whole thing in place with "Trigger Article 50" set well down the list so that everything else would be sufficiently advanced to be ready for the go-live date.

Needing to have a transition period to get our ducks in a row is a fudge for prematurely triggering Article 50 and not having sorted things out before hand. The problem now is the transition period is time limited whereas triggering Article 50 never was.

And all because May needed to get Article 50 triggered before the country came to its sense, realised what a nightmare brexit was going to be, before remoaners derailed it, before leavers woke up to realising what they were getting is not anything they voted for.

And it will all be for nothing when the next generation take us back into the EU.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

The only party who had all this organised and ready to go was UKIP.

That's why before the referendum he was talking the UK being like Norway and Switzerland and afterwards he wasn't.

There was and still is no plan, by anyone, apart from foot stamping.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

The only plan ukip had was banking the backhanders from their business friends. Probably abroad.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

"The leavers are right that leave isnt a problem at all."

Did you read the article?

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

You write: "The only party who had all this organised and ready to go was UKIP."

The Panto season starts early again this year? "Oh no they didn't!"

Don't believe me? Then ask Dr Richard North of www.eureferendum.com , who was Nigel's principal researcher in the 1990s. North did indeed have a plan -- Flexcit, which involved a staged reatreat via EEA/EFTA -- but Dear Nigel (correctly, in my opinion) veto-ed it on the grounds that more people would vote Leave if they didn't know exactly what they were voting for.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

@ Doctor Syntax

"Did you read the article?"

Yes. HMRC are doing exactly what they should be doing and this comes under the heading of 'waaaa waaa waaa' or 'brexit woes'. HMRC are pausing their other projects to focus on the main an important project of the UK leaving the EU. Something which is coming and has a time scale to work to so they are doing the sensible thing and focusing on it.

Scrapping the headline and reading the article it isnt something positive or negative, it is good sense being applied.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

HMRC are pausing their other projects to focus on the main an important project of the UK leaving the EU.

In codejunky's reality, it's a good thing that government is hamstrung by Brexit.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

"And it will all be for nothing when the next generation take us back into the EU."

No, it won't be for nothing. We'll have given up the forty years of opt-outs, rebates, and special exemptions that's allowed us to have our cake and eat it.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

@ Dan 55

"In codejunky's reality, it's a good thing that government is hamstrung by Brexit."

The government is hamstrung? What is with such idiocy? The government offered a referendum that the people wanted, the result being one of two options which the gov had time to prepare for and presented with the stated aim of carrying out the result the day after the result. That is the same government who ran the referendum, set the terms and as we know backed remain.

If the government is hamstrung then it is the government hamstrung by the remain supporting government. Regardless of your belief in remain/leave it is the government who has done all of this and it is the government who should have been prepared (as they were claiming) to leave pre the referendum. Remember that the government were publicly in support of leaving before the referendum and claimed they would be in the referendum (before 'changing their minds').

So yes I think the gov should get on with brexit. And if they dont know how to do it they can call on Farage and his group to enact the plan they had for leaving the EU.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

@ Brewster's Angle Grinder

"We'll have given up the forty years of opt-outs, rebates, and special exemptions that's allowed us to have our cake and eat it."

I think that will please those in favour of the EU. If they support the EU project then why would they want to be on the outside of it? In their love for the project I am sure they would love to adopt the Euro and join the political project currently in multiple self inflicted crises. The remainers do seem to want to undo the economic gains we have since the vote. They even seem to want us to concede the competitive advantage we gain from leaving the EU (that we gain competitive advantage by leaving the EU has been admitted and stated by the EU themselves).

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

If the government is hamstrung then it is the government hamstrung by the remain supporting government.

Tautology is a tautology. Brexit is brexit.

Remember that the government were publicly in support of leaving before the referendum and claimed they would be in the referendum (before 'changing their minds').

No, I don't remember that. When was Cameron's government ever in favour of leaving the EU, apart from using it as a threat when negotiating with them that if they didn't give him what he wanted then leave would win in the referendum?

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

@ Dan 55

"Tautology is a tautology. Brexit is brexit."

Did I confuse you again. Sorry.

"No, I don't remember that."

Either look it up or go get your memory checked.

"apart from using it as a threat when negotiating with them that if they didn't give him what he wanted then leave would win in the referendum"

Oh so you do remember! Well done! Thereby confirming Cameron believed he could rig the vote which we know he attempted and so- if the gov is hamstrung by the result of the referendum the gov gave then the gov is hamstrung by the gov. Hope that helps.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

Your Turing completeness algorithm has suffered regressions.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

"The government offered a referendum that the people wanted"

It would be more accurate to say a referundum that ~36% of the electorate wanted. By the time it happens a few of those will be dead and a few more who weren't eligible at the time but didn't want it will be old enough to vote. Just because most of the people you know wanted to leave doesn't mean everyone did or even that the majority of the county wanted to.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

@ John Watts

"It would be more accurate to say a referundum that ~36% of the electorate wanted"

Only if your an idiot. At the time and for some time having a referendum was popular which is why it has been promised for a number of elections back into labours reign. Retrospectively you could say some of those people will have changed their mind because it didnt go their way. However there are those remainers who voted as they felt but now accept getting on with the result and kudo's to them for participating in a democracy and being adults.

"By the time it happens a few of those will be dead and a few more who weren't eligible at the time but didn't want it will be old enough to vote"

It is true that more people with limited life experience, no clue of a life before the EU and likely still in those educational institutions to try and give them knowledge to proceed in life do seem to favour remaining as they know it. That is why adults tend to have to raise these young people and have them participate in the world in which we live, not just theorise.

"Just because most of the people you know wanted to leave doesn't mean everyone did or even that the majority of the county wanted to."

Instead we can just look at the referendum result which gives a straight answer to the question. The question- remain or leave. The answer- leave.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

"It is odds on that any IT system implimented will fail miserably for the first 6 months"

Yes, you'd think so wouldn't you. But then anyone who has done a tax return for the last few years has had the opposite experience. HMRC actually seem borderline competent with their IT systems and these are improving all the time with no noticable (to me) outages or issues. I might have just got lucky, but HMRC seem to have been pretty good.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

The HMRC online estate is OK - meaning the current online SA and VAT returns, but the problem with MTD is HMRC are expressly *not* providing any means of a consumer interface - not even a reference implementation for software vendors/accountants to understand how it might be made to work in the real world. It's really just a set of APIs pushing data into HMRC. And for that reason, the transformation they are looking for from a paper world to a online digital world is miles away. They're 2 years in and haven't agreed on the user journeys.

You're still going to have to submit your VAT every 3 months, but now you're going to have to provide every line item to prove the numbers.

Same goes for self-employed / sole traders - record every item of income and expenditure into some "digital" form, and submit the summarised details every 3 months via the API - no website! - AND THEN at the end of the year submit it all again AND THEN swear on your firstborns soul that you've made no mistakes. Apparently somebody somewhere will provide this service for free - because that's HMRC policy, and so it shall happen.

The burden is massive and disproportionately affects the by-the-rules small fry, and goes nowhere to catch the rogues.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

Same goes for self-employed / sole traders - record every item of income and expenditure into some "digital" form, and submit the summarised details every 3 months via the API - no website! - AND THEN at the end of the year submit it all again AND THEN swear on your firstborns soul that you've made no mistakes.

I was very concerned about MTD when my accountants sent me a note saying that I was going to be caught up in it. The note couldn't explain what information MTD would require because at the time of going to press they hadn't been told. So when the implementation date was a year away I called HMRC and asked if they could tell me what information they would require me to keep and report. The nice civil servant I spoke to asked if I was part of the trial? I said no and she said she couldn't help me, sorry. I said I found it odd that they had about a year to go and there wasn't any information available. She said that the information would be available before the start of MTD. I asked whether there was any software available yet to which the answer was no.

I asked if it meant I was going to be giving my accountants more money each year as they would be submitting four returns a year not one. She said that the new system was designed so that perhaps I could do it myself? I said I paid accountants so that if someone made a mistake it was them and if I got a fine they were responsible. I also probably wouldn't get the information in on time so what was the fine so I could budget for it. She said I doubt you'll get fined in the first year as they're having an amnesty to allow it to bed in. I said the amnesty would need to last about 40 years for me to avoid a fine.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

Hard to trust an organisation that can't even migrate my decades old self employment registration so I can use the online system at all. The page that offers to do it actually makes you register all over again, using information i forgot 30 years ago, with no confirmation I won't end up with 2 different accounts and a world of doubled hmrc aggravation. Muppets.

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

"The burden is massive and disproportionately affects the by-the-rules small fry, and goes nowhere to catch the rogues."

It's almost like there's an incentive for everyone to go back to using cash and not bothering to keep accounts...

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So having to deal with Brexit ...

is actually going to hold us back in other - vitally-important-for-trade - areas ?

If only we'd been warned before the vote ???

It was utter insanity to expect a population that struggles with 3-for-2 offers to be able to understand the depths of the economic warnings about pratting about with such an embedded system as the EU.

Still, they broke it, so they can keep it.

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Go

More brexit fun!

Shits 'n' giggles' people, Shits 'n' giggles.

Where's Lord Sir Nigel of Thanet? He had a big plan for all this, apparently? According to codejunky.

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Re: More brexit fun!

He did have a plan. Sit in his £4m house (dropping daily of course) and spend his fat EU pension.

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Re: More brexit fun!

I particularly like the way Sir Nige promises he will leave the country if brexit turns to shit as if that's atonement rather than an escape plan.

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Re: More brexit fun!

How many times is that he's flounced out of UKIP and left the UK?

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Staggered Brexit!?

From day one, most of those in the South East of England could have jumped on a ferry, at times, for only £1, and slipped off to mainland Europe to buy shed loads of cheap booze and tobacco.

That convenience was somewhat lost on those further placed from the Channel and so I would like to suggest import duties be waived for those living upt North for a reasonable time after Brexit. Say, ten or twenty years.

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Re: Staggered Brexit!?

But you will be allowed to hop on a megabus for a £1,and slip off to the south-east where vegatables will be available. You will be allowed 20 carrots and a litre of potatoes duty-free

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Anonymous Coward

Biggest UK Government Project Failures....until the next one!

Read through this:

- https://www.softwareadvisoryservice.com/blog/biggest-uk-government-project-failures/

Stunning, isn't it. The NHS project at number two and the Defence project at number one are particularly interesting -- 17 BILLION pounds down the tubes! But HMRC is right on track to get into this list next year. Not only because the IT stuff will be a cluster***k, but because of the huge downside of the failure for the sixty million citizens who are paying for this mess.

Welcome to the future!

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