Ellison moves to assuage Making Tax Digital timetable fears in letter

The government ‘remains committed to the digital future of the tax system’ despite the forthcoming general election, financial secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison claimed in a letter to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee

In her letter, Ellison confirmed that a ‘live pilot’ of Making Tax Digital is underway, and that ‘all elements’ of the system will have been ‘thoroughly tested before mandation’.

She added that by the time Making Tax Digital becomes mandatory, the small business regime will have undergone two years of testing.

Prior to the announcement of the election, the Treasury Committee in particular was critical of the project, and called for the rollout plans to be ‘put into cold storage’, adding that ‘there is no option to phase the measures, either they are parked or they go ahead’.

After much pressure, particularly from chairman Andrew Tyrie MP, representatives for CIOT, ICAEW and ACCA before the committee agreed the plans should be ‘parked’.

Following the announcement of the election, the Treasury Committee cancelled two evidence sessions which were due to take place this week.

On 25 April HMRC senior executives, Theresa Middleton and Jim Harra, were due to appear before the committee to explore developments with Making Tax Digital, while on the 26 April the committee was going to take evidence from Chancellor Philip Hammond.

On 19 April the House of Commons passed a motion agreeing to an early general election which will be held on 8 June.

The period between 21 April and 8 June constitutes the pre-election period, meaning that only essential Companies House information in line with the general election guidance for civil servants will be communicated, with other less urgent meetings being postponed.

Ellison’s letter to Lord Hollick can be read here.

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