The government’s decision to push back plans to make landlords submit tax returns digitally has been warmly welcomed by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).
Delivering his Budget yesterday, the chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the measure, known as ‘Making Tax Digital’, will be delayed by one year for landlords with a turnover below the VAT threshold.
The government wants to provide landlords with more time to prepare for digital record keeping and quarterly updates, and as a result, implementation will now happen in April 2019.
The trade body is particularly pleased with the change as it has been pushing for such a delay for quite some time, and only last month presented its case to a parliamentary committee looking at the policy.
A study conducted by the RLA last year found that 48% of landlords use spreadsheets for record keeping; 38 per cent use paper records and just 13% use specialist software.
The difficulties in preparing the sector to move to a fully digital system will be compounded by changes being implemented from this April that mean landlords will be taxed on their turnover rather than their profit.
Douglas Haig, vice chairman of the RLA, said: “The RLA has long called for more time to enable landlords to properly implement this radical change to the system of administering tax.
“Whilst we support efforts to improve the efficiency of the system, faced with unhelpful changes to the way they will be taxed, the last thing landlords needed was an imminent change to the way they keep their records.
“The chancellor has made the right decision in giving landlords more time to prepare for this important change.”