The massive Visa payments outage across Europe should give everyone pause for thought about our over reliance on the internet and cyberspace generally. I hope this reflection will extend to HM Revenue and Customs, whose Making Tax Digital for Business policy will compel all but the smallest businesses to use cloud based accounting packages.
From April next year the scheme will apply to all businesses registered for VAT. With the VAT registration threshold being an annual turnover (not profit) of only £85,000 even quite modest businesses will be caught by this rule.
It is easy to see the attractions to the HMRC of this policy. The scheme allows them to access businesses’ books from the comfort of their own offices with the expectation of both saving money and at the same time extracting more tax.
However what about resilience? The government is very good at talking about this, while at the same time encouraging and frequently, as in this case, compelling us to do exactly the opposite.
HMRC should have a fundamental rethink of this policy and at the very least restrict it to corporate scale businesses.